Following on the critical and commercial success of her play Enron in which she tackled a financial scandal and collapse of the American energy corporation of the same name, Lucy Prebble explores in The Effect pharmaceutical practices and places under the microscope the events at a clinic where new antidepressants are being tested. The play was inspired by a failed experiment by the American corporation Parexel in one of London’s hospitals that took place while they were testing another drug.
The play deals with real facts and, by skilfully presenting different perspectives and points of view, raises many questions about the effects of drugs on people and the functioning of the human brain and emotions in general. Is depression caused by chemical imbalance in the brain? Is it conditioned by external factors, or is it rather a state of mind possessing a more accurate view and perception of the world? Are the causes internal, intrinsic, residing in the individuals, or is the cause external, rooted in the system? Is it the system that convinces us that we are sick? Does love equal one’s inner chemical processes? What happens if, all of a sudden, we can no longer trust our own feelings? The Effect, a play about emotions, reads like an intriguing investigation thriller and engages the viewer into its intrinsic questioning of knowledge and beliefs and constant establishment of a critical attitude.
The production will explore diverse perceptions and perspectives of experiencing – what is true, what we think is true, how much we trust our own instincts, what we are and what we think we are, or are not – and will examine a relationship between marketing, personal interests, profit making, science, emotions and relationships. These are topical issues also during the current global pandemic, which is, in addition to the opportunity of social change, also an opportunity for new pressures exerted (also) by (pharmaceutical) lobbies.
Eva Nina Lampič