The Patient Gloria
- Eddie Harrison
- 14 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Gina Moxley looks at misogyny in the psychiatrist-patient relationship
In 1965, a woman called Gloria agreed to an experiment; she would be psycho-analysed by three men. The results would be captured on film, not for public consumption, but for the use of students. The script of Gina Moxley's play notes that the films (Three Approaches to Psychotherapy) are still in use today, although the context of their use isn't made clear.
The Patient Gloria attempts to locate evidence of male oppression in the psychiatric relationship. Liv O'Donoghue plays Gloria, lounging in a dress on a sofa as the play begins; Moxley addresses the audience directly, and plays the three male interlocutors. It's clear that the men are more interested in themselves than in Gloria, and in turn, each of them are taken down by Moxley's manic impersonations. There's also musical contributions from Jane Deasy, who enters the stage to perform L7's 1992 anthem 'Shit List'. Moxley's play aims to be a feminist rallying call, but the material doesn't crack up in the manner required.
If the source of the content sounds high-brow, the treatment is anything but; Moxley constructs a fake penis from a pair of tights, then produces a rubber, stretchy phallus for vigorous masturbation. To accompany the final interview, a flesh-coloured dildo mounted on a drone is flown over the audience's heads. Moxley throws in a line where Gloria suggests that 'way in the future, during the third wave of feminism, someone will write a play about me' but it's hard to imagine that the Californian housewife would have been wowed by this depiction; it's notable that Gloria somehow gets side-lined in her own play.
It's odd that Moxley is so protective of Gloria, given that her own play seems rather exploitative of her memory. With songs by such 'feminist' icons as Van Morrison and Brian Wilson, The Patient Gloria attempts to reclaim a wronged woman's reputation, but this muddled show rarely shows the bite required for the task.
Traverse, until 15 Aug (not 19), times vary, £22 (£16.50).