BBC Radio 4, 16 March 2009
Just imagine if Sigmund Freud had been wrong in his theory of the Oedipus
complex! If this had been the case, then the course of modern psychoanalysis might have taken a very different course. Salley
Vickers's ingenious play explored this idea. As the elderly Freud (John Hurt) sits in his armchair in 1938, a pathetic wreck
in exile with nothing much to look forward to except death, he is visited in a dream by Tiresias (Paul Rhys) who claims that
many of Freud's theories are nothing but wild surmise. To prove his case, he transports the psychoanalyst back to the world
of Ancient Greece and asks him to impersonate Oedipus, so that he can see for himself what the ancient hero's life was really
like. Eventually Freud discovers - in a Duke of Gloucester-like moment - that Oedipus's blinding was not a punishment but
rather a moment of liberation. At last he could be free from the stultifying clutches of authority, whether governmental or
familial. Physical blindness opened his eyes to a range of alternative possibilities in life.
Taking this account of Greek myth into consideration, Freud immediately considered
whether he should revise his ideas of pyschoanalysis. Rather than look for pat explanations of human behaviour, he resolved
instead to treat each case on its own merits.
Where Three Roads Meet was a slight piece of work, focusing on Freud's mental
and spiritual journey towards some kind of enlightenment. Nonetheless Kirsty Williams's production provided diverting entertainment
for the Afternoon Play slot.