"It's a challenging piece of work that's not wholly enjoyable, but each audience member will find something in it to linger on."
Give Me Your Love begins with a conversation between Zach and his wife Carol. Zach, a war veteran with PTSD, is hidden entirely in a cardboard box, and Carol is off stage, never seen. Zach's friend Iuean arrives with an MDMA pill and says he cured his PTSD by participating in trials where he talked to a therapist while on psychedelic substances — he saw it on CNN. Of course, Zach wants to try it. It's quite the process but the two men eventually get pulled into their trauma, the horrors of their pasts, and the parts of themselves they don't want to confront.
David Woods does incredibly well to imbue his character Zach with so much feeling while keeping his upper body hidden in a cardboard box for the entirety of the show, likewise with Jon Haynes' Iuean, whose arm is the only body part of his visible on stage and who has to shout through the door. The two men share a natural rapport and their bantering and bickering is drily hilarious. With the assistance of a decrepit-looking set from Jacob Williams and sound design from Marco Cher-Gibard that at times disorients and other times soothes, you're easily sucked into their world.
The dark comedy is Ridiculusmus' second instalment of a trilogy of works exploring innovative treatments in the area of mental health, and was informed by scientific research and real testimonies. Aside from portraying some of the potential reactions one could have from such a treatment — the laughter, fear, depression, clarity, absurdity, loneliness — Give Me Your Love deals with existential and ethical questions. It's a challenging piece of work that's not wholly enjoyable, but each audience member will find something in it to linger on.
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