Psychiatrist

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Hugh, American, is standing, Stephen, English, lies on a couch.

Hugh Are you at ease and relaxed, Mr Lloyd?

Stephen Yes, very. This is a very comfortable chair.

Hugh That is no accident, Mr Lloyd. It was designed by a friend of mine, to my specifications, purposely to relax you and place you fully at your ease.

Stephen Well it is very comfortable.

Hugh My friend will be delighted to hear that. Now, Frank - I shall be calling you Frank through the duration of these sessions. Okay by you?

Stephen Fine.

Hugh I have found that that also helps relax you into a state where you feel able to talk freely with me. Is it working?

Stephen Yes.

Hugh Good. Now ...

Stephen My name is Jonathan, I don't know if that -

Hugh Good. Already we're finding out new things. Now Frank, I want you to take a deep breath through your mouth.

Stephen (Doing so) Haah!

Hugh Fine. Now I'd like you to breathe out through your nose. Stephen snots slightly in obeying this request. In through the mouth, out through the nose. Do you know what this is called, Frank?

Stephen Breathing.

Hugh That's nice. Frank, this is called inter-oral, extra- nasal respiratory relaxant therapy, and - as the name implies - this an American technique. Good and calm and regular. Frank, I want now that you should allow your mind to take you backward in time. Think yourself back and back and back.

Stephen Right.

Hugh Have you gone back?

Stephen Yes.

Hugh You've gone back. What do you see in your mind's eye, Frank?

Stephen The Spanish Armada.

Hugh Frank, you may have gone back too far there. I'm talking of your memories Frank. Your childhood status. I want to investigate all the sense data of your infancy. Go back to when you were in second grade.

Stephen What?

Hugh Second grade.

Stephen I don't know what that is. I've never understood it when people talk about grades and semesters in films.

Hugh OK Frank, maintain your respiratory rhythms and let's turn then, if we may, to your dreams. You dream, Frank?

Stephen Yes I do, yes as it happens, yes.

Hugh You do? Well that's fine. Are you able at this time to recall to the surface of your conciousness any recurrent nocturnal dream sequences for me?

Stephen Well I do have one recurring dream as a matter of fact.

Hugh Well now, let's take time off Frank, to analyse that sequence together.

Stephen It is rather a strange dream.

Hugh Is it Frank, a dream of an erotic nature I wonder?

Stephen No, not really.

Hugh Oh. Well I'd still like to hear it.

Stephen As I say it's a bit odd.

Hugh Ordinarily, Frank, the more bizarre or outre the dream, the more readily susceptible to positive interpretation is thusly renders itself to become. On the converse side of the bull-pen, simpler dream experiences are more resistant to explication and offer a much more complex morphology to the professional inquirer bold enough howso to venture therein.

Stephen I see.

Hugh But hey, Frank! That's my problem. You've got a dream, let's share it. What do you say?

Stephen Are you sure this is going to get us anywhere?

Hugh Depends where you want to be, Frank.

Stephen Well ...

Hugh Where do you want to be?

Stephen Well I want -

Hugh I want to be there too, Frank. I want to take you there. (Putting his arm on Stephen's shoulder) Don't be scared. Do I scare you, Frank?

Stephen No, not really.

Hugh You sure about that?

Stephen Well, a bit perhaps.

Hugh (Incredibly loudly) I'm going to kill you!

Stephen (Starting) Jesus!

Hugh That scared you, didn't it?

Stephen Yes. Yes it did, actually.

Hugh Good, I like to know the thresholds within which I have to operate. Putting my hand on your shoulder did not scare you. Shouting loudly in your ear that I was going to kill you, did. Those are my limits. My ceiling and floor if you will.

Stephen Do you want to hear this dream or not?

Hugh I very much want to hear this dream, Frank. I do really. Shoot.

Stephen Well, I'm in a corridor -

Hugh Frank, I have a small tape-recorder here. Do you mind if I - ?

Stephen No, no. Good idea. This is quite a complicated dream.

Hugh Thank you.

Stephen I'm in a big building. I think it's a hospital ... Hugh switches on his tape-recorder: pop music comes out. Hugh taps his feet and joins in the singing. What are you ... ?

Hugh Please continue, Frank.

Stephen I think it's a hospital, but it isn't. It's some kind of institution. There's a big staircase, a uniformed man at the top. Janitor or something. He beckons to me ... look, I can't concentrate with this going on.

Hugh (Turning it off) I do most sincerely beg your pardon, Frank. Please continue.

Stephen Well, anyway, the janitor beckons to me and then I wake up.

Hugh You wake up. I see. Now this sounds ...

Stephen And almost immediately I'm chosen for a bathroom wall.

Hugh Frank, I've never thought of myself as a stupid man, but even so I think I'm going to need a little help understanding that last sentence. You were chosen for a bathroom wall.

Stephen Well the thing is, you see, I haven't woken up at all. I've only woken up in the dream. I wake up and find that I'm the colour blue.

Hugh The colour blue.

Stephen That's right. And somebody chooses me for their bathroom wall.

Hugh I see. And do you then become the colour of that wall?

Stephen No. As it happens, I'm a particular shade of blue that's very difficult to get in the shops. The bathroom wall ends up with a bit too much green in it. But we get on reasonably well.

Hugh I'm sorry?

Stephen The colour of the bathroom wall and I get on pretty well. There are no hard feelings.

Hugh I see. This bathroom, Frank. Does it belong to a lady?

Stephen Er ... yes, I think so.

Hugh And she likes to bathe in this bath in this bathroom?

Stephen Well I suppose so.

Hugh Are you attracted to her?

Stephen Well no. I'm the colour blue, how could I ... ?

Hugh But she's attracted to you.

Stephen Well ...

Hugh She chose you, Frank. Out of all the other colours, she chose you.

Stephen Yes.

Hugh There you go. She was attracted to you, Frank.

Stephen She chose me because I reminded her of the colour of a bruise she once had on her inner thigh.

Hugh Now we're getting somewhere, Frank. You remember being the colour of this bruise?

Stephen Vaguely.

Hugh This is an interesting sequence, Frank. What happens next?

Stephen I tell you how my dream continues, I think.

Hugh Right.

Stephen I find myself in the corridor in a large house just outside Taunton and Prince Edward is running towards me, he's about to bowl a cricket ball at me and I haven't got a bat. Prince Edward is running in to bowl and I haven't got a bat. What does that mean?

Hugh Just may be a little early to say yet, Frank.

Stephen But suddenly I find it isn't Prince Edward after all, it's Bob Holness.

Hugh Come again for me?

Stephen Bob Holness. You know, "Blockbusters". Bob turns to me and I catch sight of his face, it's a twisted grinning mask of contorted harted and frenzy. I look down and I find I have got a bat. I didn't have a bat when it was Prince Edward but I did when it was Bob Holness. Why? Why? Am I mad?

Hugh Mad? Frank, "mad" is not a word I like to use. Let's just say that half of us is always "mad", disordered, wild and the other half is sane, rational, in control.

Stephen Oh I see. You mean there's two sides to every person?

Hugh No, I mean the two of us. Half of us is sane, that's me, and the other half is mad, that's you, Frank.

Stephen I must say you seem rather unorthodox. The last man I saw just gave me a couple of fillings.

Hugh Dentistry has made many advances, Frank.

Stephen Obviously.

Vox Pop

Hugh Yeah I've been there once or twice, but I didn't much like it. There's another one on the A12 which I think is better.

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