Lucy Prebble’s The Effect

Pangdemonium presents

Lucy Prebble’s The Effect

I think this one really hit close to home.  Perhaps not in a bad way – but it did it close to home.  As the story progressed, as they delved into the depths of the human mind through the means of the heart, I really felt a tug at my own heart.

I’m going to be pretty open – I nearly cried.  But of course I didn’t – how could I?  If I did would that send red lights flashing up – that I connected with this personally and that therefore something was wrong?  But why the shame.  Why am I ashamed of it?  Why am I so scared of being what I am?  Is it biological or is it the thought that forms it… I don’t think I want to know.  Why didn’t I cry?

Enough of that – I think that this was a really important play.  I think it speaks volumes – it raises crucial debates.  It’s not just about the ethics of science or the matters of the heart because it fuses both seamlessly.  It moves flawlessly from humour to drama that you cry before you even finish laughing.

Can depression be cured?  Do depressed people really have a more accurate view of the world?  Sometimes I wonder what that even means.  Is having a more accurate view really better?  Ignorance is bliss, after all.

Sigh… it even questions our existence – are we biologically controlled by the chemicals in our brain and pumping in our veins or is there a larger force – a spirit that controls us.  If we took our brain out and put another into the same body – are we a different person?

In the end, all I really have to say is that this play touched me.  It understood us all in the abyss of our minds.  It yanked me from my stupor of denial and made me cry – if I should have let myself.  Are we just science or is there a wider meaning to us – our passions and our desires can’t just be chemical, can they?  There needs to be a soul – a spirit holding us together.

So then what causes depression?  Why can’t I make things better for other people?  If I gave my friend love, is it better than if I gave them a pill?  Is my love useless?  Are effects of the pill just psychological?  Is my love a side effect of the depression?  Is it better to believe that they can be cured with medication… then at least there is a definite answer to this.

This play has really given me a lot to think about and I don’t think I’ll ever have the courage to articulate my thoughts coherently.  I don’t dare to.  I don’t really want to.

I’m so grateful for having been able to watch this show.  It’s been a pleasure.


The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day is a brilliant book by Kazuo Ishiguro about an English butler on a road trip.  Stevens takes himself on a ride of a lifetime, delving into his memories that he recalls with fondness and that is flaked with inaccuracy.

The narrator is Stevens, and in the first few chapters, you’d think him just an insufferable, long-winded and cold man, but yet as I read further into the novel, I grew to like Stevens.  He was a man insufferable because of his inability to express himself, and yet I was able to glean what he wanted to say from everything he didn’t.

The book spoke to me about memory and most importantly – about regret.  All his needless exposition about dignity – and all that really mattered to me was about how much he missed out on – the turning points in his life that he identifies for himself, and how he wished they had gone differently, and how he cannot change what was, and yet how he crafts them to be.

Towards the end of the novel, he admits it – and why should he not – “[his] heart was breaking”.  And that sentence, though stark and direct, broke my heart.  This man, who fought so hard so keep up his professionalism, finally breaks down in a small way, and admits to having his heart broken.  The missed opportunities – all for work.

Do I ever feel that way?  Perhaps.  Is it worth it?  I think it is.  For myself, anyway.
For Stevens?  Maybe not.

But of course, no matter which life we choose, no matter what balance we create for ourselves – what really matters is what we choose to make of what we have done, and to choose what we will do next.

Perception, after all, is what determines what is, what was and what will be.

What we can do, despite regret of the past, is to make the best of the remains of the day.  Of our days.