POST: 'The Effect' - is it a drug or is it love?

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What's it about?

The Effect is a play about two patients on a clinical trial for a new antidepressant drug. While on the drug, the two fall in love, but is it the effect of the drug or true love?

What'd I experience?

I made my way to the theater and found my way pretty easily. I realized that I’ve actually been there before to see the show Tribes, which was amazing, so I had high expectations for this show. I found my way to my seat, and since I had a few minutes before the show, I started taking in the stage and those around me.

The show opened in a mental institution where we're introduced to two patients, Connie and Tristan. Now, I’m going to be brutally honest and say that I didn’t like Connie. In the beginning, she gave off this cold, distant, full of herself type of attitude that I just couldn’t shake throughout the play. I just couldn’t connected with her character, and there were moments where it seemed like she would say certain things to resolve issues rather than genuinely mean them. She does something shocking, which I’ll mention later on, and ohhh that really grinded my gears. Connie definitely can’t sit with me.

Then, there was Tristan. Sigh. Tristan. Tristan was hands down my favorite. I fell in love with him after hearing just a few of his words. His character was chill, funny, energetic, and adventurous. He wanted to go backpacking after the clinical trial for god sakes. Like... can I come with? That sounds awesome. Anyways, his persistence and attraction to Connie was palpable. Tristan had that look in his eyes that anyone in a relationship would want. That look like you’re the only one I could ever have my eyes on. He was attractive and he made my heart melt.

When speaking to Connie about his life, he said things like, “I was fine to be a disappointment. Happy to be an acceptable failure,” and “I wanna be good for you.” His comment about failure and wanting to be good enough for Connie hit home for me. I relate to that defeated nature of accepting the title of being a failure and that growth of wanting to be good enough for someone you love. There was even a scene where Tristan sits in a corner with Connie, curled up and covering his ears. It reminded me so much of a hurt little boy, and of course, I just wanted to jump on stage and give him a huge to let him know that everything was okay. I even imagined that to help cope with the sadness I felt for him. Insert my heavy heaving and ugly crying here.

I had two very different, but powerful moments that I connected to.

The first is when Tristan and Connie first kiss. The two talk about how there was the possibility that it was the effect of the drug, but eventually, they end up kissing and having sex. While they were talking, I whispered to myself, “Kiss. Just kiss. Kiss.” The second they did, I was ready to walk out. That’s it folks. The show is over. The two fall in love and live happily ever after. Final Scene. Close the curtains. The end. Good night everyone.

The other scene I found very powerful and moving was Dr. Lorna’s monologue. She speaks to an anatomical three dimensional brain, talking about the two conflicting parts of her brain, one that fuels her depression and the other that fights it. The dialogue she creates between the two parts of her brain really spoke to the conflicting thoughts people with depression have. The monologue created this intense tension in the air, and I respected how well worded and thought out the speech was. It really opened my eyes to the thought process one has when they’re depressed, and I felt that it not only helped with perspective but it also opened up the conversation about depression, which is a major YAAASSS in my book.

Onto the shocking parts. This is where the major spoilers are, so if you’re not into that stuff, just put your hand over your eyes and scroll down.

There were many shocking scenes throughout the play. I don’t think I’ve genuinely had my jaw drop during a performance until this one. When Tristan and Connie had sex, I wasn’t expecting them to and I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be so graphic. This was also where Connie learns that Tristan is on the placebo, as well as when Dr. Lorna learns that Tristan wasn’t. 

But there's one scene that made my jaw drop to the floor. Connie gives Tristan her pill, the highest dose of the trial, which leads to him having a seizure and developing transient global amnesia. Now, I already got attached to Tristan’s character and wanted a happy ending. Seeing the seizure and the two walk away with him still lacking his memory, I wasn’t okay. That was not okay. Did he regain his memory? Please tell me he did. Why do you gotta leave me on a cliff hanger like that? Actually, you know what? I actually like that. He remembers. They get together. Happily ever after. Okay? Okay. Phew. I can sleep happy now.

Want to see it?

:( Sorry. This show is not currently showing.