Conversion disorder for lay public consumption
- By: Maham Khan
Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, was the infamous night when Nazi soldiers launched savage attacks on the German Jews; ransacking houses, smashing shop fronts, destroying synagogues, and beating those in their way. The hearts of the world were set ablaze as people across the globe read of those whose livelihoods were burnt to the ground. Broken Glass follows one woman’s dramatic response to these events as it shatters the world of her husband and smashes the doctor-patient relationship beyond recognition.
The play, set in 1930s Brooklyn, follows the lives of respectable Jewish couple Sylvia and Phillip Gellburg. On reading of the Nazi fever gripping Germany, Sylvia becomes paralysed from the waist down, creating a somatoform sensation. Desperate for answers about her medical condition, her husband Phillip turns to community doctor Harry Hyman.
Dr Hyman quickly excludes a neurological cause, becoming all consumed in pursuit of the psychological issues