Beyond Therapy

A wildly absurd night of coupling, copulating, and cracking up


Through Aug. 24

Tickets are $12-17


Bulldog Theater, 965 Mission (between Fifth and Sixth streets), S.F.

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Tucked away in a little pocket of SOMA is a tiny theater with cinema-style seating. The site currently hosts a small company called One Heart Productions, showing Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy. This ridiculously absurd comedy is about coupling, copulation, and cracking up in the age of psychoanalysis, and it takes stabs at the somewhat clichéd subjects of failed blind dates, markedly disturbed therapists, and premature ejaculation. The story begins when the neurotic blonde Prudence answers a classified ad and begins dating the equally neurotic Bruce, who's living with his equally neurotic lover, Bob, who proceeds to bitch and moan to his equally neurotic mother about the whole ordeal over the phone. Prudence and Bruce pay numerous visits to their screwed-up therapists, one of whom runs around poking people with a larger-than-life-size dildo, while the other nervously cradles odd-looking doll babies in her arms throughout her sessions. Durang's script, injected here with a fair amount of slapstick, is funny in parts, but it also tends to feel dated, particularly in its satiric obsession with therapy. The production obviously operates on a low budget, and the actors, with the exception of Greg Raffelson (whose jittery Bruce is just itching for a nervous breakdown), give uneven performances, lacking any real cohesion as an ensemble. Yet under Sheila Lopez's spirited direction the dedicated company finds some surprisingly wonderful moments in the script, which keeps the play moving along.

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