Commanding Premiere Tackles OCD at New EndDate: 30 May 2002
A new play highlighting the perils of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), written by journalist and recovered OCD sufferer Robert Eddison, receives its world premiere next week at the New End Theatre in Hampstead, north London. Commanding Voices, which stars Jeremy Child, opens at the fringe venue on Friday 7 June and continues until 7 July 2002 (previews from 5 June).
Promising young artist Ben has been offered a place to study at The Slade, but his father, Edward Davenport MP, has other ideas about Ben's future. Ben's mother has already sacrificed her career as a concert pianist to become the dutiful MP's wife. Can she stand by and watch as Edward attempts to suppress Ben's creativity too? The pressures trigger Ben's OCD, which progresses at an alarming rate against the backdrop of his father's political career.
Playwright Robert Eddison suffered from OCD in adolescence. He recalls: "For a long time, I didn't dare leave my bedroom as I was petrified of losing something if I did. Meals were brought to me on a tray. When my mum or dad came to collect the tray, I put them and myself through endless checking rituals to ensure that no food had stuck to it. Even in the safety of my room, I was constantly tormented by intrusive thoughts and the need to position everything just so. Slippers had to be exactly parallel, papers in perfect symmetry and woe betide anyone who inadvertently knocked something askew."
Though his illness prevented him from completing his secondary education, Eddison went on to graduate from Cambridge and embark on a career in journalism, writing for numerous national newspapers. Having recently turned to playwriting, he was invited to attend a pioneer course at RADA and to study at the Royal National Theatre Studio.
Recently seen in The Falklands Play on BBC4, Jeremy Child, who plays the MP father, has appeared in over 40 other major TV dramas, including Love in a Cold Climate and Jewel in the Crown. His theatre credits include Plenty and The Madness of George III.
Child is joined in the cast of Commanding Voices by Isobel Pravda, James Puddephatt, Katherine Hogarth and Glynn Williams. The production is directed by Richard Howard and presented by Pluto Productions.