Meeting Mister Mephistopheles
Publication date: June 2011
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
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Description This is a play about the entry into Hell, about the agony that has no relief, about the distress that cannot be soothed, about the pain that will never be cured... It is set in the aloofness of a Cambridge college, during the turbulence of the 1960's... A new undergraduate, Ayub Peters, finds that he is going all too rapidly mad in the environment of cold Cambridge snobbery. Demons are everywhere, damnation emerges in each encounter, and his strange and shadowy college tutor, Mister Mephistopheles, orchestrates the student's descent into psychosis and suicide... But perhaps Cambridge actually is a nest of devils, and, through his so- called 'schizophrenia', Ayub Peters is discovering the real cruel dark core of this seemingly glittering university... Let us participate in insanity, and seem to find there...truth... About the Author Zekria Ibrahimi (born in 1959) is defined by his schizophrenia. It first hit him long ago, in his late teens. He is fifty years old now, grey and frail, almost a pensioner, with all the aches and injuries of age, and he does not always want to remember how, as an adolescent in the late 1970's, he suddenly became afraid of everything surrounding him, and, worst of all, of himself. He would run around the countryside and knock at the doors of strangers because he feared the apocalypse was pursuing him ... He would pick up rubbish outside in alleys and streets and hoard it in his not very palatial lodgings ... He was always wandering away from home, searching for ... what would never be found again ... the straight route, the level way ... He was a tramp, freezing during the nights in public toilets where he had various unsavoury insects as company on the cold concrete ... There were years of pain when his schizophrenia became almost his only companion- albeit a sadistic one, punishing him even as he hugged it. Perhaps, to echo both R. D. Laing and Emily Dickinson, it is the entire globe, it is general society, that is truly insane. Schizophrenics simply burrow all too deeply under the surface. They reach the very core of the savage reality in us all. Most varnish over the anarchic truth within through the superficial sham paraded as 'civilization'. Schizophrenics prefer to be uncomfortably honest barbarians. For the accident- prone Zekria, the System is all callousness, and no cure. Eventually, after much psychotic shouting on Hammersmith Broadway, the hapless Zekria was confined at the Charing Cross unit in the West London Mental Health Trust. Following the unsafe unstable freedom of his schizophrenia, came the restrictions of Section 3. He would not have survived without the multi- racial compassion of the individual doctors and nurses in Charing Cross. Yet the overall SYSTEM remains an ogre of rules and restraints, and the INSTITUTION of psychiatry can be as cold and vicious as in the days of lobotomy and insulin shock. Now he is elderly, but still he muses about being locked up, drugged up, about how, with schizophrenia, the treatment can be worse than the disease...