I will be acting (moving silently is more appropriate) in a play by Terry Johnson called Hysteria. I have a minor role - 'older naked lady' is the official role title - together with two other models/actresses, Bernie Barrett and Angela Platter. From the role you can gather that I will have to walk around the stage in a state of complete undress (or semi? I am not hundred percent sure, as yet). I am used to nudity, I am a life and art model, so nothing unusual there.
Rehearsals have just begun for the main characters; the naked ladies will begin rehearsing on 11th July, with clothes on.
Terry wrote the play in 1993. It features an imaginary encounter and exchange between Freud and Dali. The lead roles are taken by Antony Sher (Freud) and Will Sheen (Dali), with Indira Varma as Jessica and David Horovitch as Yahuda.
The play will run in Bath from 23rd July, for four weeks. Then we will tour, with performances in Richmond, Oxford and Cambridge.
It is uncanny that I should be acting in a play inspired by psychoanalysis, just as psychoanalysis begins to take a major role in my life.
I became interested in therapeutic dance two years ago and decided to do a course in DMP (short for dance/movement psychotherapist). By the end of the second year the lure of psychoanalysis was too strong and I decided to exit the course. I was itching to embark on psychoanalytic training, which I am in the process of doing. By serendipity, when I had to choose a personal therapist at the start of the course, a requirement, I chose to be in analysis with a Lacanian psychoanalyst. That did it for me.
It might sound odd that, as a body centred person, I should choose "the talking cure", but to me there is no contradiction. Just because I am engaging in a study of the unconscious and unconscious processes, it does not mean I am rejecting the body, on the contrary.
It is also interesting, part of the same thread if you like, that of all the ballets, the one I chose to go and see most recently is the Prince of the Pagodas. Again the connection with psychoanalysis figures prominently and it was not deliberate on my part. The ballet is a journey into the unconscious, very Freudian in terms of its symbolism. Kenneth MacMillan, the choreographer, was in analysis for many years. In 2009 there was a symposium at Imperial College, on the occasion of MacMillan's 17th anniversary, at which psychoanalysts from IPA with an interest in dance were in conversation with the audience, examining Macmillan's creativity in relation to his own personal journey through depression and anxiety.
“What lies behind the sense of guilt of neurotics are always psychical realities and never factual ones...What characterises neurotics is that they prefer psychical to factual reality and react just as seriously to thoughts as normal people do to realities.”
Freud, Totem and Taboo, 1913
Over the past three to four days I have witnessed a number of online attacks on a fellow model, on deviantArt (where else?) in what to me sounded a most hysterical explosion, in a Freudian sense.
I was wondering whether those who displayed such neurotic behaviour may not find some solace in a Freudian approach to the root cause of their anger.
Just a thought.
(All photos unless otherwise stated are by Korrigan and modelled by Alex B)