The Pool of Bethesda is a poetic, witty and poignant work, combining fantasy with a straightforward look at the choices we make as we live out our lives. When the play opens, Dr. Daniel Pearce, a London surgeon, is living in a sort of comic nightmare, suffering from increasingly disturbing hallucinations. Believing himself to be the Christ in William Hogarth's famous painting, The Pool of Bethesda, he has transported himself to the 18th-century painter's extravagant, erotic, and sometimes violent world. Returning to the present, we find that Pearce's delusions are the product of a serious illness. He has been hospitalized, having made the painful transition from doctor to patient. As his mind clears, we learn that the individuals in his Hogarthian visions represent those close to him in life, most notably his wife, his sister, and a close friend. Pearce must communicate honestly with these women and mend their complicated relationships before he can reconcile himself to his life-threatening illness.
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