Hysteria: A Song Cycle for Singer and Psychiatrist is the third part to a trilogy exploring manifestations of mental health, and was born out of an absorption with the power of the mind, and its interplay with the body. Less talked about and acknowledged, though undeniably still prevalent, is psychosomatic phenomena, which, taking its roots in Freudian analytical theory and case studies, is often overly used to refer to the experiences of ‘hysterical women’.
From a series of interviews with individuals explaining their personal experience of psychosomatic phenomena, or ‘unexplained physiological happenings’, Pook has created a series of movements interspersing observations of psychiatrist Dr Stéphanie Courtade with the ‘patients’ own stories – the music and lyricism of narrative, emotion and recall generates an evocative immersive picture of what it’s like to live with psychological distress, breaking through to the corporeal self. The performance included video accompaniment by Dragan Aleksić and Georgia Anderson (excerpts contained in the video below) and was followed by a Q&A with Errol Francis, artistic director of PS/Y, Jocelyn Pook, Dr Stéphanie Courtade and Lamis Mary Bayar, chair of mental health organisation Dragon Cafe in London.
The project was kindly supported by The Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.