Patrick Marmion

Plays by Patrick Marmion

The Divided Laing

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

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?

In 1965 R. D. Laing and his associates turned London’s Kingsley Hall into a pioneering residential treatment centre. A safe haven for people with psychosis and schizophrenia, it was a controversial asylum with no locks on the doors, where treatment with antipsychotic drugs was considered taboo. Instead, Laing encouraged residents to embrace madness as an attempt at self-healing. Laing himself became a darling of the swinging Sixties with admirers including The Beatles, Jim Morrison, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Sean Connery. This manic farce explores the ideas of radical psychiatrist R. D. Laing on the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Association which he co-founded. Ideas which were way ahead of their time about the treatment of those with mental health issues, have now been incorporated into everyday practice.

Patrick Marmion writes for screen, stage and page. The Dead Guy is his first novel and he has written plays including The Institute, Pieta (after Chekhov's The Seagull) and Terms & Conditions. Screenplays include Mushroom Soup (about an hallucinogenic stag weekend written for Sam Mendes and Renaissance Films), an adaptation of his novel The Dead Guy and a magical family film Archie Tanner & The Dodo that crosses ET with Madagascar. Patrick Marmion is a leading theatre critic in the UK having written for the London Evening Standard, the Daily Mail, Time Out and many more publications including Spiked Online. He is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Kent. Patrick Marmion's other work can be read on his website at