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“The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents” comes to Portland

The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents

The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” – Sigmund Freud

The only thing harder than having “the sex talk” with your kids is having it with your parents. After all, it is only natural for a parent to want to protect his or her children and keep them innocent. It can be very difficult for a parent to accept the fact that their child has sexual desires and often times a parent will try to stifle their child’s development in order to protect them. Most teenager would rather die than talk to their parents about the specific details of their sex life. Beginning on January 16, 2015 Portland’s Theater Vertigo will present. Lukas Barfuss’ The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents at the Shoebox Theatre.

The story revolves around a teenager named Dora who has been on psychotropic medication ever since puberty for an unnamed problem. On the advice of her therapist Dora’s parents take her off her medications, her sexuality begins to emerge and it is out of control to say the least.

She indiscreetly mates with a man who patronizes the produce stand where she works. She ends up having to abort the pregnancy that results from the encounter. In spite of being highly sexual Dora has the innocents of a child. She doesn’t understand the secrecy or shame that surrounds sexuality or the boundaries set by society when it comes to sex.

According to Yale University’s Modernism Lab, Dora was the pseudonym of one of Freud’s most famous tests subjects; a young woman who was diagnosed with hysteria. Hysteria is an archaic term for women who exhibited extreme emotional excess. Freud believed that Dora’s condition was caused by a sexual trauma in her past. One of Freud’s methods of treatment for hysteria and other conditions was simply talking to the patient.

Freud used the case study to illustrate some of his most famous theories. He also uses Dora as an example of a woman with an Oedipal Complex saying that her attraction for her father manifested itself in an affair she had with a married man. He wrote about Dora’s dreams as illustrating the significance of dreams as an avenue through which traumatic experiences in our past manifest themselves.

Lukas Barfuss is a Swiss playwright who has worked as a tobacco farmer as well as a lecturer at The Swiss Literature Institute. He is the author of fifteen plays written in French and German. He won the Swiss Book Prize for his novel Koala which was about the suicide of his brother.

The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents was translated to 2005 in twelve languages and was the recipient of the Theater Heute award for Young Author of the year in 2003. American critical reaction to the play has been mixed. The Village Voice called it “ethically complex but satirically slack.” The New York Times said it was a serious, thematically layered work that should be more interesting than it is.”

Theater Vertigo has been in Portland for seventeen seasons. The reparatory company has staged everything from plays by popular modern day writers, to classics to world premieres from new authors in its three show season. Every season the company produces Anonymous Theater in which all the actors rehearse separately in secret for a one night performance.

The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents will be performed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. from January 16 to February 14, 2015. Tickets to the show are $20.00.

Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor

Eliza Gale - PortlandMetroLive.com ContributorEliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.