“Sarah Kinmount: <<What? >>
Justin Donnelly: <<There’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it’s quite remarkable. A child powerless against abuse often creates other personalities or alters to survive the trauma.>> ”
The phenomenon of multiple personality has always fascinated and frightened me, the idea that a person can “host” various and numerous individuality (from two to twelve doctors say), of which the main one is usuallyunaware of the others, it is disturbing and at the same time a great artistic resource.
By playwriter the idea of writing a character that has within it different personalities is tempting and for an actor would be an incredible challenge, play twelve roles in one, can you image?
But whereas for writers or poets it can be a creative inspiration, at the same time we must not forget that it is a serious disease!
The ways in which this mental activity come about can be pathological, perilous, damaging both for the person who is affected and for others; a person suffering from multiple personality often suffers from dissociative fugues, depersonalization and loss of memory. Lose track of time, he/she does not remember what was done at a given time, or feel a sense of aloofness to his/her body. This is because when dissociated parts rather than others dominate, you do not have a real knowledge of what is happening.
Laurie Kinmount: What about Leigh?
Justin Donnelly: Leigh was the key. He was the imaginary friend who floated you away from the pain. He helped you endure until the others could assume their roles.
Bewitched and concerned by this illness, I was into it to write a theatrical script (which I actually staged in Winter 2012) and so I looked for a novel that spoke about the phenomenon to take inspiration from. That’s how I came across the book that kept me up a week, bent up in my bed in a cold January, with the reading lamp as a bookmark and a box of butter cookies and a warm herbal tea and cuddle: All around the town, by Mary Higgins Clark.
Laurie Kinmount: [singing in Debbie’s voice] “Eastside westside, all around the town.“
The novel’s title refers to the song “All around the town” that the protagonist feels come from a music box in his period of kidnapping, but also an ambiguous meaning because as we said, people who suffer from DDPM (Multiple Personality Disorder ) are not always aware of their actions and go “around the city” unconscious and lost.
It must be said that Mary Higgins Clark is a master of the psychological thriller genre, able to keep the reader in suspense until the last line, not surprisingly won the Agatha Christie prize, but in this case I think she has really reached ‘pinnacle!
Laurie is a young student suffering from heavy mental disorders caused by a horrible experience lived when she was a child, who wasaccused, with irrefutable evidence, that she killed her teacher. Since then, because of her schizophrenic personality, she does not remember anything of what happened; so her sister Sarah, legal representative, and the clever psychiatrist Justin Donnell mediate to her save.
The scenes when Laurie talks with her psychiatrist are just perfect because they reveal the emotional aspect of the patient in a amusing and touching way.
Clark faces a delicate subject with wisdom and suspense where every character, every personality is well defined. We feel a sense of loss of Laurie, we experience the anguish of Sarah, we want to help Jason and above all we want to discover the murderess.