Play Reading - 'The Talking Cure' by Christopher Hampton
HK English Speaking Union
- Mon 15-07-2013 7:15 PM - 2 h
'The Talking Cure' by Christopher Hampton (2003)
JULY'S play-reading Monday 15/7 Facilitator: Mike Ingham
The Talking Cure is a play about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud and the earliest days of psychoanalysis, spanning the years 1904-1913. Beside Jung's wife the only other significant figures in the play are also psychoanalysts, two damaged human beings who are both followers and patients of Jung and Freud. One is Sabina Spielrein; in Hampton's play she and Jung became romantically involved (as they apparently really did). The play describes Spielrein's transformation from violent and deeply disturbed woman in her late teens to a reasonably well-adjusted medical student and then practitioner. Jung cures her, more or less, and he does so using the 'talking cure' -- the now familiar technique of allowing a patient to do most of the talking while the doctor at best lightly guides the patient along. At the time it was a completely innovative technique. However, Hampton's work effectively shows the difficulties of keeping the human element from influencing psychoanalytic practise. Jung is first seen as Freud's follower and then even heir, but eventually there is a break between the two, one that Spielrein (and presumably Hampton) suggest weakens the field as a whole. The stage play was reworked by Hampton as a screenplay for the 2011 film A Dangerous Method directed by David Cronenburg, which narrates the same events as the play.