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6.8.10

Hysteria

by Terry Johnson

I can always tell the mark of a good movie when I begin to relate it to everything around me. I recently saw "Inception" (along with the rest of the world) and loved it! I am also an avid "Mad Men" viewer and read an article about how "Inception" and "Mad Men" are telling the same story - read it here. An interesting thought, to say the least. Now, let's throw into the mix Johnson's Hysteria! Now what do all these things have in common, you ask? They all, in some form or another deal with the unconscious. In Johnson's brilliant dark comedy, Freud says:
In the unconscious there is no actual reality. Truth cannot be distinguished from emotional fiction.
Case in point - almost the entire action of "Inception." What I loved most about that film was how much I could relate to it. I have always been a big dreamer. My dreams more often than not are TERRifying. I have woken up crying; I have woken up and needed to wait 5 minutes before falling back to sleep so as not to slip back into the dream; I have woken up and thought that my dream was reality. When they're not scary, they are downright weird. Not unlike the end of Hysteria. The play slides into a surrealist nightmare as we realize that we are in Freud's own unconscious just before (or perhaps after?) his death. It's a beautiful, moving, FUNNY play about one of the most controversial, intelligent men of his time.

Freud's own Daddy-issues (ahemDonDraper) lead to his destruction in this play. They are the one thing too terrible to face, and even on his deathbed he cannot admit the darkness in his own family. Is this his own personal hell? To Jessica, a woman who has come to confront Freud, he says:
The young may speak what the old cannot bear to utter.
She is quick to respond:
Because I can articulate these things does not mean I am able to bear them.
Our dreams are a place where anything can happen. Quite often that is too much for our conscious mind. I always try to remember my dreams as much as possible in order to confront what I might be afraid of. Though, I wouldn't object to Leo spending some time in my unconscious.

Thursday Play-a-day: In the Next Room or, the vibrator play by Sarah Ruhl

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