A Therapy Session With Myself
By Anthony J. Piccione
Reviewed by Robert Viagas
A young man who suffers from crippling social anxiety and depression splits into multiple selves as part of a journey of self-discovery in Anthony J. Piccione’s drama, A Therapy Session With Myself, being presented Off-Off-Broadway.
Recent college graduate Alex (Nick Roy) sits cloistered in his apartment drinking beer after beer and pot after pot of coffee, trying to write a script for an unnamed play, and trying to resist the notion that he is devolving into a recluse.
His obsession with the mess he’s making of his life causes Alex’s mind to splinter off a whole other self , named You (Shane Zimmerman), a relentless nooge, who hectors Alex to take a hard his life and figure out what he needs to do to get back on track.
In flashbacks, yet a third Alex, named Me (Nathan Cusson) is shown being a successful student in college, a promising actor, working as a volunteer in a soup kitchen, surrounded by friends, half of a love relationship. Yet Alex persists in the belief that he is a failure at all these things and that somehow all of them are now beyond his reach. It is stated that Alex suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, but his secondary self seems to feel that Alex could heal himself simply by trying a little harder to engage with other people.
The promising premise takes ninety intermissionless minutes to work itself through. Dialogue between Alex and You gets repetitive after the first few flashbacks. Without some sort of dramatic modulation in the second half, it could benefit from trimming.
The dour script rises to humor only once, when two of the Alexes have a fight, and one says, “You shouldn’t beat yourself up about this.” The play would benefit from more of that kind of self-awareness.
In most real-life therapy, the patient is asked to dig deeply and confront who they really are. Alex needs to move past glib, obvious answers and bring himself to a more profound catharsis.
Also featuring Emma Romeo, Louise Heller, Tony Bozanich, Sonya Sagiev, Travis Martin, Alexander Pepper, Rosie Coursey, Lizzy Moreno, and Nicholas Capriotti, A Therapy Session With Myself is playing an unusual schedule—the third Saturday of every month at 2 PM only—at the Kraine Theater in Manhattan’s East Village.