MainStreet Award

Directors' Choice Award Winner

| script | breakdown | synopsis |


Book, Music, and Lyrics by Larry Bortniker


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Musical Selections

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Dora an attractive 17-year-old girl

Freud at age 44

Philip Dora’s father, a commanding man in his 40s

Katherine Dora’s mother, a plain woman, early 40s

Frau K a voluptuous woman in her mid-30s

Herr K her husband, early 40s

Chorus Emmy von R, Lucy R and Elisabeth von R
(Three Hysterical Women once treated by Freud. |
*They also play various cameo roles.)


Dora: Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria is an adaptation of Sigmund Freud's case history of a 17-year-old girl with a hysterical cough and a variety of other psychosomatic ailments.  Set, for the most part, in Freud’s office in Vienna, the musical recreates Dora's psychoanalytic sessions with Freud, beginning in October 1900 and ending abruptly on New Year's Eve. 

Dora's father Philip brings Dora to Freud for treatment after finding her suicide note on his desk.  In it, Dora threatens to kill herself unless Philip breaks off relations with his mistress, Frau K.  Philip refuses; Dora throws a tantrum; this is the final straw.  He drags her to Freud against her will and she grudgingly begins her psychoanalysis. 

What unfolds is a web of psychosexual intrigue and betrayal, involving Herr and Frau K, two close family friends.

In detective-story style, Freud uncovers the causes of Dora’s ailments as he dissects Dora’s relationships with her father and mother and with Frau K and Herr K.  Much to Dora's anxiety, Freud exposes her Oedipal conflicts, her sexual desire for Herr K, her homosexual love for Frau K, and the significance of a reoccurring dream.

There are nine characters in the cast: Freud, Dora, her parents, Herr and Frau K, and Three Hysterical Women — ex-analysands of Freud who serve as the play's not-quite-cured hysterical chorus.


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