Ridiculusmus are a company that like to take new and interesting approaches to theatre. With Give Me Your Love they are following their play The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland with another performance that looks at innovative and bizarre methods of mental health treatment. Zach (David Woods) lives with his head in a cardboard box. He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and putting his head in a box is his method of dealing with this tragic issue.
Give Me Your Love takes place in one location. We are in a dingy flat where the front door is locked, the walls are dirty and the shelves are almost bare. In this flat is a cardboard box with small holes punched in it. For the duration of the performance Zach has his head in this box and never comes out. He shouts at his wife Carol an his friend Ieuan (both voiced by Jon Hayes), but never answers the door or takes the chain from the lock. Zach wants to take some MDMA as he has heard that this can help medicate his PTSD. He is clearly venerable and not coping well with his current situation.
The performance is powerful and adopts an atypical approach to presenting mental health onstage. We witness a vulnerable man, but never get to look him in the eye to view his grief first hand. Instead we have to connect with him through the walls of a cardboard box. The vulnerability of this character is expressed in his need to take illegal substances for treatment. Give Me Your Love presents an alternative to traditional medication. We see an extreme version of solitude and and we witness use of illegal drugs as an alternative to prescribed medication. The tragedy of the character is obvious and this makes Give Me Your Love an engaging and interesting piece of new writing.
As well as starring in the performance David Woods and Jon Haynes wrote and directed the production. Give Me Your Love will be followed by a play that looks at grief and this will be the concluding part of their trilogy of performances that investigate the extreme methods people undertake to treat mental health.