Mind The Gap

Written by Abi Bown / Produced by Theatre of Debate

Description

Tells the story of three disparate characters who find themselves stranded in a deserted underground station. Vijay is haunted by the memory of his violent past, while Dino escapes, using drugs to manufacture forgetfulness. Meanwhile Maya’s memories are crumbling away with the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Developed in partnership with the European Alliance of the Brain, supported by the Wellcome Trust and performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

Details

Focus: Alzheimers, Post traumatic stress disorder, Smart drugs, neuroethics, mental health and well being

Audience: Young people (14 plus) and adults

Length: 60 minutes

Full Film: Available through Theatre of Debate, with subtitles by Stagetext

Resources: Available for teachers and students, science communicators and health workers

Synopsis

Three disparate people find themselves stranded on a deserted platform of an underground station. Vijay – caught in an eternal moment of remembering a crime he’d sooner forget. Maya – slowly descending into a world of chaos, her memory crumbling away, piece by jigsaw piece. Dino – whose fractured psyche is soothed only by the drugs he takes and thoughts of escape. They are ministered to by Silas, the lone kiosk attendant, self styled healer and purveyor of Kit Kats and crisps. Together on platform 2B these four minds are compelled to confront the devastating nature of Alzheimer’s disease, the agony that is post traumatic stress and just what it is that could drive someone to kill at random…

  • Does the brain defines our sense of identity?
  • What if we could treat Alzheimer’s in the early stages?
  • Is growing old a disease?
  • What if we choose to selectively forget?
  • What if we could treat addiction at its origin in the brain?
  • What if we could predict through brain imaging? Would we? Should we?

Characters

Vijay played by Karl Queensborough (Film 2011)
“She was beautiful man, I loved her.” A cocky British Asian boy aged 17, he lives in East London. Previous to his girlfriend’s murder, life had been sweet for Vijay. His mind was preoccupied with music, college, romance and designer jeans. Then events overtook him, one random act of violence by a stranger destroyed his rational thinking. Vijay finds himself trapped by a mind that can’t stop replaying the gut wrenching moment when his girlfriend was pushed under a train.

Silas played by Patrick Myles (Film 2011)
“I talk to people – one of the best forms of healing there is, talking – and being listened to” Silas sometimes feels he has the brain the size of a planet and his intellect is too much to bear. His ability to gather information, absorb books and schools of thought as if by osmosis is hindered only by the crashing troughs of despair he occasionally finds himself in. The highs and lows of Silas’s life have dictated his movements around the globe and his ability to hold down a job. Silas has the strong conviction that he is, nevertheless, a born healer – he was descended from Winnesheik, medicine chief of the Winnebagos after all, and his great grandma Sofia rode a spring wagon pulled by a two horse team of paint ponies – selling blood tonic made from cocklebur, balsam and burdock. In this spirit and tradition of the Old West, Silas has set up stall on platform 2 offering along with the crisps, Daily Mail and cans of coke – understanding, empathy and hope.

Maya played by Annie Domingo (Film 2011)
“My life. Mine – it just ebbs and flows, shifts, creating different patterns in time, in the here and now” A Nigerian woman in her sixties now resident in East London, she is a tough cookie .Maya was a writer with a reputation, she sold books, she did book tours and panel discussions – life in her native Nigeria being a favoured topic. Now all this is changing with the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, and feelings of frustration, humiliation and deep sorrow are edging out pride and resilience. Maya rides the tube trains, embarking on a journey in the morning, she forgets her destination, then she forgets to come up for air and inevitably finds herself on Silas’s platform where there’s always a cup of tea waiting.

Dino played by Nathan Bryon (Film 2011)
“I wasn’t no Gangsta drug junkie dealer neither – let’s face it, I didn’t have the credibility or the clothes” White boy aged 18, messy hair, dirty nails. Dino was a puzzle to the teachers at his primary school, they could not understand his failure to fit in, to make friends, to thrive. Dino’s mind was constantly preoccupied however with trying to suppress the feelings of despair and anger that were to dog him all his life. He was in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’, the result of a life with an abusive father in the presence of a mother who chose not to notice. When sniffing glue and simply ‘zoning out’ ceased to deaden his mind and his memories, and acting the fool only got him beaten up at school, Dino simply withdrew from the world.

Playwright Interview

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