I thought I had never come across the specific condition of Dissociative Identity Disorder before – and that’s because it’s what used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with modern developments! It’s one of many mental health conditions that, if you’re not personally affected by it, you can only thank your lucky stars. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have all those voices tumbling around inside my head, speaking the words of other people, who are not me, but using my brain and my mouth to communicate with the world, testing me with their alternative identities, challenging me with their opposing views.
Amy Da Costa’s one-woman play introduces us to Zsofia, hiding in a corner until the voices in her head agree that it’s safe to come out. She likes to Netflix and Chill with Jacob, and it seems that the two of them have a good thing going until one day Jacob confesses that he has depression; and, whichever voice it was in Zsofia’s head that heard that, didn’t like it. So she refuses his calls and doesn’t see him anymore. Other voices in her head include a well-meaning child and an unsophisticated cockney; there may be more. How can she keep all these different characters, with their various desires and demands, under any kind of control?
Ms Da Costa does a great job in giving all these individuals their own voices and characterisation. When all Zsofia’s identities rub along ok it’s almost comedic at times, as we hear the mundane conversations between two pals that live inside one head. When the voices clash, however, Zsofia’s crisis is very moving and distressing, and, sadly, there is a kind of inevitability that leads to the play’s final scene.
An excellent performance, and with only a table for support – which inventively turns into a bed, a sofa, and a bath amongst others – and which really helps our imagination run wild to appreciate Zsofia’s full situation. A hard, sometimes complex, watch but dealing with this awful condition with honesty and sincerity. Congratulations!