In AA meetings, we are urged to “look for the similarities not the differences”. Watching People, Places, Things, I didn’t need to look hard, the parallels between my own life and the story onstage were obvious
It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned -- and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for granted. It seems obvious. It seems manifestly true. Until I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war, I believed it too. But what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong -- and there is a very different story waiting for us, if only we are ready to hear it.
Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places and Things is an unusual play because we see the events of the story subjectively, though the eyes of its main character, Emma. We experience the world as she experiences it. When Emma takes drugs, the lights glow brighter and voices slow down. People seem to become other people. Objects disappear and reappear unexpectedly. When her experience of events becomes fragmented, the action of the play becomes fragmented. We see her world from the inside, as opposed to seeing the reality of the events that she is experiencing from the outside.
Natalia Lawrence, a senior lecturer of Psychology at Exeter University, lifts the lid on addiction and discusses what goes on inside the mind of an addict.