It was in the middle of the first act that I said to myself, “Hey! I’ve seen this play before.” Thirty years ago I was working for the Magic Theatre and Lynne Kaufman’s “The Couch” played there. There is an excellent reprise of it directed by Amy Glazer and produced by 3 Girls Theatre Company at 533 Sutter Street in San Francisco in SF above the Shelton Theatre.
The highlight of the show is the child actress Hattie Rose Allen Bellino, daughter of the other playwright in the 3 Girls production Suze Allen, whose play “3 Shorts" plays in rep with “The Couch” (didn’t get to see that one) through the end of March. Maggie Mason as Jung’s mistress and protégé Antoinette Wolf, and Courtney Walsh playing his wife Emma, are the main roles and are both done with aplomb and believability—Freud (played by Louis Parnell) and Jung (played by Peter Ruocco) are ancillary to this feminist script. The story is: what happens when the mistress wants to steal the master away from the wife? It’s timely for Women’s History Month.
The story follows the quirks of Jung and his conflict with Freud’s emphasis on the sexual. Playwright Kaufman plumbed the historical material well for this condensed psychoanalytical biographical snapshot.
The set has a starring role. The extraordinary construction along the wide but not so deep stage invites us into a place we’d like to live. Glimpses into the hall, garden, and kitchen pantry fill us with a sense of depth and verisimilitude. The set decoration is near perfection c. 1910--from the dried herbs in the kitchen to the crucifix above the door--which Freud surprisingly never alludes to. Set and properties were designed by Alicia Griffiths.
Three Girls Theatre Company was founded by Suze Allen, AJ Baker and Lee Brady, and has the mission of putting “women’s work on stage…where it belongs.”
“The Couch” by Lynne Kaufman
Directed by Amy Glazer
Produced by Three Girls Theatre Company
At 533 Sutter SF through March 21
With: Maggie Mason*, Louis Parnell*, Peter Ruocco*, Courtney Walsh* and introducing Hattie Rose Allen Bellino. Set & props by Alicia Griffiths, Costumes by Susannah Mason, Lighting by Claire Kendrick,
Sound by Nathan Harris.