Sunday, April 19, 2009

Psychiatry on Broadway


The world is so weird. This morning, I looked out my back window and wondered if the neighbor behind me was pregnant. You can't really ask someone this-- it could just be 15 unwanted pounds, kind of concentrated in one place. I went to her Facebook page, and there was a comment on her wall, "Congratulations on the Pregnancy!" Okay, so it's official.

So today's New York Times mental health Shrink-Rappable article comes from the Arts & Leisure section. Patricia Cohen writes in "Mental Health, the Musical, Aims for Truth" about Broadway plays where mental illness is the focus of attention. She talks about a new Broadway play, Next to Normal, as well as about Proof and Equus. Cohen writes:


Mental illness on the stage and screen is often portrayed in extreme ways, and not just for dramatic effect. In Western culture psychic pain has tended to be seen as the territory of the artist, visionary, rebel and genius, from Emily Dickinson to Sylvia Plath and Friedrich Nietzsche to John Forbes Nash Jr. So it should be no surprise that madness is often used to signify creativity, sensitivity or spiritual and intellectual depth.

She goes on to write:

The musical now presents a much more subtle and complex view of psychotherapy. In “My Psychopharmacologist and I,” Diana catalogs the side effects of her drugs — nausea, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, headaches, seizures — until she finally says, “I don’t feel anything.”

The doctor pronounces, “Patient stable.”

Will I see it? No...sounds too much like going to the office.