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Psychopathia Sexualis

Psychopathia Sexualis
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: John Patrick Shanley
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 54
Pub. Date: 1998
ISBN-10: 0822216159
ISBN-13: 9780822216155
Cast Size: 2 woman, 3 men

About the Play:

Psychopathia Sexualis is a full length comedy by John Patrick Shanley. An unusual need threatens to derail Arthur's impending storybook marriage, until his best man agrees to retrieve certain articles that Arthur's psychiatrist has stolen from him. The characters in his plays hurl verbal spears at each other as potent put-downs or poetic expressions of love. But in Psychopathia Sexualis, they trade something more tangible: argyle socks.

Psychopathia Sexualis is a contemporary farce about a soon-to-be-married man and his sock fetish. Arthur, an obscure young painter struggling in the art world of Manhattan, announces to his self-satisfied friend, Howard, that he is engaged to be married. To whom? Asks Howard. The answer is to Lucille, a powerful, attractive, no-nonsense Texas socialite, a kind of wealthy Annie Oakley. But, Arthur confides to Howard, there are three problems: 1. Arthur is a fetishist, and Lucille doesn't know. He cannot make love without being in proximity to his father's argyle socks. 2. Arthur's psychiatrist, Dr. Block, unable to cure Arthur of his fetish, has stolen said socks. 3. Arthur's wedding night is fast approaching, and he needs his socks back. Howard vows to retrieve his friend's socks from the wily Dr. Block. This brilliant if unconventional shrink proceeds to reduce Howard to a snivelling wreck. We finally meet the robust Lucille, in her wedding dress, as her friend Ellie (Howard's wife) blurts out all the bad news. At this point, Arthur enters and begs Lucille's forgiveness, which he obtains. Lucille resolves to go to this Block character and rescue her man's socks. Lucille and Dr. Block fight it out for the soul and the socks of Arthur. Lucille wipes the floor with the clever psychiatrist. Her secret weapon? A hearty store of common sense and razor-sharp country wit. Block finally resorts to trying to seduce her. When she cries help, Arthur and Howard burst in and save her. Arthur reclaims his socks (as each man must), and he and Lucille are married.

Psychopathia Sexualis was premiered in 1996 by the Seattle Repertory Company in Seattle, Washington, and then by the Center Theatre Group at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, California.

Cast: 2 woman, 3 men.

What people say:

"John Patrick Shanley's new play, Psychopathia Sexualis is…a smart new comedy about men and their befuddlements and a shrink who may just be the personification of evil…The play's first half is perfectly poised between daffy comedy and believable human neurosis which Shanley combines so well that although you never know what wacky thing is coming next, you believe it when it comes." — Los Angeles Times

"John Patrick Shanley's Psychopathia Sexualis is a salty boulevard comedy with a bittersweet theme…Shanley's craft…is actually at high tide. Shanley has written what on the surface is a deft boulevard comedy, but one with thought-provoking depths." — New York Magazine

"…It's great fun to watch the sparks fly and great scene material for auditions and classes." — BackStage

"Shanley is a wicked writer…in the mouths of savvy socialites and other members of the Manhattan elite, his dense, witty prose sings. A tour de force of witty, barbed dialogue." — Variety

About the Playwright:

John Patrick Shanley is an American playwright, screenwriter, and director. Shanley has written some two dozen off-Broadway plays since the 1970s, but he is best known for Doubt, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award. He has also written extensively for TV and film, and his credits include the teleplay for Live from Baghdad and screenplays for Five Corners and Moonstruck, for which he won an Academy Award for original screenplay.

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