Hysteria, or Fragments of an Analysis of a Obsessional Neurosis by Terry Johnson, The NoraTheatre Company, Central Square Theater, 1/6/11-1/30/11. Nudity and mature themes. http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/10-11/hysteria.html
Reviewed by Becca Kidwell
Freudian analysis? A dream of Dali? Too much spicy food? These are questions the audience might ask while watching Hysteria. Using the real meeting between Freud and Dali as a starting point, Johnson’s play moves from farce to surrealism to nothingness. The Nora Theatre Company makes this strange journey palatable and pleasurable and masks the flaws of the script.
The exaggerated perspective of the set, Freud’s study, immediately tells the audience that something peculiar is going to happen. As the play unfolds, Janie E. Howland’s surrealistic set design matches the frenetic energy that is sent forth from the actors. No one questions the absurdity of the situations that take place because the cast commit fully to the roles that they play. Richard Sneed, as Freud, tries to hold the world together as it keeps trying to spiral out-of-control. His warm-fatherly nature combined with Freud’s philosophies moves the audience from sympathy for a dying man to anger at an intractable man that will not even admit the possibility that he might have erred. Continue reading