Was Laing a Menace or Visionary?; Collectors Fairs DRAMATIC CHANCE TO DECIDE ON GURU'S VISION OF LIFE

Article excerpt

VISIONARY or dangerous? The jury is still out on the 1960s guru R.D. Laing, whose revolutionary ideas on life and psychiatry earned him fame and the hostility of other doctors.

But some sort of answer might be found in a new theatre show Did You Used To Be R.D. Laing? coming to Liverpool's Neptune Theatre.

Laing was a psychiatrist and writer whose theories were for a while enthusiastically received.

He theorised that parents drove their children mad, that psychiatrists drove their patients mad and schizophrenia was "breakthrough rather than "breakdown".

He even opened safe houses where schizophrenics could deal with their illnesses.

He became a media personality until his Flower Power-styled treatments earned him the disdain of other doctors and eventually a bad press.

By the 1970s, he retreated to India where he had to struggle with his own demons, faded from pubic view and died.

Actor/ writer Mike Maran - who last year took his one-man narrative version of Captain Corelli's Mandolin to the same theatre - decided to take the same format to the Laing real-life story. …