The Effects of Solitude
Dundee-based company DBS Productions might be better recognised as creators of comedy, so The Effects of Solitude may come as something of a surprise to fans. Written and performed by Noni Townsend, this piece of confessional theatre sees Alex recounting her experiences as a human guinea pig. As part of a worldwide study on human behavioural patterns, Alex agreed to go under observation while in clinical isolation.
As the title suggests, Alex takes us step-by-step through the process, detailing the recognised side effects, from paranoia to aural hallucinations, while questioning the ethics of this type of experiment. These moments are interspersed with episodes from her time in solitary confinement, until the moment when she is released ahead of schedule.
It takes a while to adjust to the dramatic process but this simple, rather dry monologue exposes an underlying fear of loneliness inherent in all of us. Townsend’s vaguely distracted, unnervingly natural delivery as Alex adds to the intimacy of the piece, which is further intensified by the Spartan nature of the performance space. Short but undeniably disturbing, this play exposes how close to the surface madness may be in all of us.
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