Observations: Freud family sofa's takes a starring role in Theatre of Therapy
Friday 25 September 2009
Seventy years ago this week, Sigmund Freud committed "assisted suicide" at his Hampstead home and, later this autumn, the couch from his house will play a central role in a show at Chelsea Theatre.
Theatre of Therapy is the latest entertainment "event" from the acclaimed performer David Hoyle, best known to those outside the gay scene for his cameos in Nathan Barley and Velvet Goldmine. Directed by long-time collaborator, Nathan Evans, the show sees Hoyle exploring notions of ego, super-ego and id through savage self-reflection and recorded therapy sessions conducted with audience members on the Freud family sofa.
It sounds like the perfect vehicle for a man who views all artistic expression as "therapeutic and cathartic". How Chelsea came by the couch, however, is more convoluted. Friend of the theatre Helen Spackman, a performance artist and lecturer at London Metropolitan University, was given it by a student connected to the family of John Willett, a pre-eminent Brecht scholar, who, in turn, acquired the sofa directly from the Freud Museum.
"Owning something that Freud's bottom actually sat on, well, I couldn't resist," says Spackman, who is storing the rather battered couch in the hallway of her flat. "Here is this broken-down object that once belonged to this very great man. And if we follow that metaphor into the breakdown of the human condition, I think that's why David is so excited about using it."
Hoyle concurs: "The couch will be electrically charged with the vibration of Freud's voice. I plan to have a relationship with it." And what could be more appropriate? Hoyle has assumed numerous personas in his career, none more memorable than The Divine David, whom he dramatically killed off at Streatham Ice Arena in 2000. Freud would have a field day with this patient, surely. "I'm happy to say I'm multifaceted," admits Hoyle. "Some of my facets are blinding bright and others are coal-black. It all depends on where the light is."
'Theatre of Therapy' is at Chelsea Theatre as part of its Sacred season (21 October to 22 November) www.chelseatheatre.org
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Jeremy Clarkson to host BBC's Have I Got News For You despite Top Gear exit
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest