The Wonderful World of Dissocia
by Anthony Neilson
Performed by Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP)
Directed by Chris Tomlinson
4th November - 7th November 2015
Photograph by Brian Roberts
First performed at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2004, this
revival by the Young Everyman Playhouse troupe was astonishing to watch.
There are two distinct sections to the play - the title refers to dissociative
disorder, the medical term used to describe people separated from reality
as a result of mental illness - with the latter starkly different from
the first, and much shorter in length.
The initial part is full of frenzied and carnival-like activities by
all the cast.
Lisa (Niamh McCarthy) goes on a journey to Dissocia in search of one
lost hour that has greatly affected her view on life. When she arrives
there she meets a highly eccentric series of characters, as she seeks
the hour she thinks she lost when the clocks altered during a flight to
The madcaps include representatives of the forces of depression, clinical
depression imbalances, inhibition, laughter and argument.
Little wonder then that Lisa strongly feels that life is becoming more
and more difficult to comprehend.
The second act opens with Lisa lying in a hospital bed, heavily sedated,
and mentally very confused.
There is a constant repetition of doctors and nurses coming into her
room to administer pills, which she vehemently protests they are too strong
and are making her feel groggy.
This alludes to the power of the pharmaceutical industry in producing
and supplying medicines of all kinds, some not even tested to any degree,
and the adverse effects they can have on many people, and often also leads
to addiction to prescribed drugs.
When it goes dark in her room you hear the sound of heavy footsteps on
the ceiling, adding to the feeling of alienation she must be experiencing
in her confined space.
She has no way of conveying her thoughts of her imaginary journey to
Dissocia, its wonders and its horrors, to the medical staff or her family
The alarming contrast with what took place before the close of the first
part is a highly impressive piece of stage production that is both perceptive
Without question this is the most impressive performance put on by YEP
since they were formed in 2012.