Always keen to see office furniture in new contexts, we note that a filing cabinet features as an important prop in the play, Mrs. Klein, showing at the Almeida Theatre in Islington, North London. The play studies the troubled relationship between controversial psychoanalyst Melanie Klein and her daughter Melitta.
Klein rose to prominence in the 1920s. Although she claimed herself to be a faithful adherent of Sigmund Freud’s ideas, she questioned some of his fundamental assumptions, in particular the chronology of the Oedipus Complex. She pioneered direct work with children using toys (whereas Freud based his ideas concerning childhood on work with adult patients). Conflict arose between followers of Klein and those of Anna Freud in the 1940s and the British Psychoanalytical Society split into three separate training schools: Kleinian, Anna Freudian, and independent – a division that remains today.
Mrs. Klein premiered at the National Theatre in 1988 before transferring to the West End and Broadway. In the play, Klein, played by Clare Higgins, uses a three-drawer filing cabinet for subjects she classifies as “ego”, “superego” and “id”.
The play, also starring Zoe Waites and Nicola Walker, runs until Saturday 5th December.