Medal of Honor Rag This lean account of a therapy session between a psychologically scarred Vietnam vet (Bryan Keith) and his therapist (Tyler Vickers) packs a lot of punch into 65 minutes. The sinewy play asks hard questions about a government that bestows its highest military honor on a soldier who went berserk on the battlefield. The evening is so compelling and concentrated, it's as if the viewer is eavesdropping through one-way glass. Produced by St. Louis Actors' Studio through February 15 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue. Tickets are $25 ($18 for students and seniors). Call 314-458-2978 or visit www.stlas.org.
— Dennis Brown
Sabina Kevin Beyer delivers yet another persuasive performance, this time as Sigmund Freud in a fact-based account of Sabina Spielrein (Leslie Zang), a severely damaged inmate in a Zurich hospital who became Carl Jung's first private patient, was cured, became his mistress (thus arousing obvious ethical questions) and went on to figure in the clashes between Freud and Jung (John Pierson) over the future direction of psychoanalysis. The problem is that in Willy Holtzman's challenging script, Freud is a secondary character who does not take center stage until Act Two. But as briskly staged by Annamaria Pileggi, there's little in Act One to engage a viewer. Sabina's madness and magic elude Zang, and Justin Rincker has no clue as to why his character (a third psychoanalyst) is even in the script. Ultimately, a drama that needs to sail remains earthbound, and we're left wishing the play were titled Sigmund. Produced by the New Jewish Theatre through February 15 at Clayton High School's Little Theatre, 2 Mark Twain Circle, Clayton. Tickets are $28 to $30 ($2 discount for seniors and JCC members). Call 314-442-3283 or visit www.newjewishtheatre.org. (DB)