Cabinet of Cynics and Stepping Out Theatre

The Divided Laing

Patrick Marmion

Directed by: Michael Kingsbury

‘Some people are lucky: they get through life thinking the ground beneath them is solid…’

London, 1970. Experimental psychiatrist R.D. Laing is facing eviction from his pioneering asylum in the East End’s Kingsley Hall. Local residents are up in arms – and to make matters worse, Ronnie’s revolutionary colleague David Cooper is flipping out on the roof…

With his personal life going down the pan and his mental state heading the same way, Ronnie takes an acid trip to the future. His mission is to save his therapeutic collective The Philadelphia Association, and secure his professional legacy. Will it be a one-way ticket to madness – or can breakdown sometimes mean breakthrough?

Alan Cox plays Ronnie Laing in this provocative, freewheeling comedy by the acclaimed playwright and journalist Patrick Marmion.

Michael Kingsbury (In Lambeth, Ying Tong) directs the world premiere production on the 50th anniversary of The Philadelphia Association and of Laing’s experimental asylum at Kingsley Hall in Bromley-by-Bow.

World premiere

Does RD Laing still matter?

Saturday 28th November, 5.30pm-6.30pm
Free for same-day ticket-holders (matinee and evening)
An informal discussion with leading practitioners in the field of psychiatry and psychotherapy looking at the life, work and legacy of RD Laing and asking if his ideas still matter.
In attendance will be: Dr Peter Misch (Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital), Antonia Davy (RD Laing’s former secretary), Dr Kay Mordecal (psychotherapist) and Patrick Marmion (writer of The Divided Laing) as well as members of the cast.

Tangled Up in Laing: Reading R. D. Laing

Arcola Bar, Sat 21 November, 12.30pm-2pm. FREE
Presented by ANTIUNIVERSITY NOW!, and hosted by Adrian Chapman, this discussion-based event introduces Laing, the radical Scottish psychiatrist, author and sixties counter-cultural figure (who played a part in the original anti-university of London). We’ll focus especially on Laing’s conception of alienation. Attention will be paid, too, to his influence and the ways in which he might be relevant today.

Patrick Marmion‘s previous plays include The Institute (Etcetera), Pieta – After Chekhov (Finborough & Print Room) and Terms & Conditions (White Bear). Screenplays include Mushroom Soup (Sam Mendes/Renaissance Films), Kids FM (Working Title Television), Maid Marion (Channel Four Films), The Dead Guy and Archie Tanner & The Dodo (Children’s Film & Television Foundation).

Michael Kingsbury’s directing credits includes In Lambeth by the Olivier Award-winning Jack Shepherd at the Southwark Playhouse; the critically-acclaimed Ying Tong by Roy Smiles, which opened at the West Yorkshire Playhouse before transferring to the Ambassadors; This Other Eden by Jonathon Moore at the Soho Theatre (runner up in the Verity Bargate Awards); The Caretaker and Bloody Poetry.

Monday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm
£19 / £15 concessions

Saturday matinees at 3:00pm
£17 / £14 concessions

Opening performances (18, 19 and 21 November) – All tickets £12

Pay What You Can Tuesdays (tickets in person from 6pm – limited and subject to availability)
Tickets are £10 or less with Arcola Passport

Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes approximately (including interval).
Recommended for ages 15+
In Studio 1, seating is allocated.