Item #40206 Skizotopia. Heathcote WILLIAMS.



London: Royal Court Theatre, 1968. Pale green card covers with title printed in black. Foolscap. 84pp., bound with a metal clasp.

An original draft playscript for Heathcote Williams’s first full-length play (it was based on an earlier one-acter, ‘The Local Stigmatic’, written at the behest of Harold Pinter, and subsequently re-titled ‘AC/DC’). The cover has been amended by the author with a new title, “The Elektrofiliaks AC/DC”, and the original title on the first page has been crossed through.

‘AC/DC’ was first staged at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs in 1970 and transferred to New York in the following year. Darkly comedic, Williams’s play was inspired in part by his stay at Springfield Mental Hospital following a breakdown. It lampoons both the burgeoning media overload (the stage set included banks of video screens) and the leading proponent of the anti-psychiatry movement, RD Laing, who, Williams later stated, was interested in “only the most decorative schizos… only the most picaresque.” Its final scene, a psychedelic nightmare, famously simulates an amateur trepanning in response to the 'information explosion'.

Card cover partially discoloured, with ring-stain and ink splatter to upper wrapper, o/w a Very Good copy of an early draft of Williams’s best-known play, considered by Germaine Greer to be one of the few enduring works of literature produced by the counterculture and described by Charles Marowitz in his review for the Times Literary Supplement as “the first play of the twenty-first century.”.