ROBIN’S SHOW RECOMMENDATION: Freud’s Last Session
FREUD’S LAST SESSION, the runaway hit play by Mark St. Germain, recently celebrated its 700th. It is currently at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street in NYC). Winner of the 2011 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play, the Off-Broadway premiere of FREUD’S LAST SESSION opened on July 22, 2010 to rave reviews and immediately became a sellout sensation starring Mark H. Dold as C. S. Lewis and Martin Rayner as Sigmund Freud, under the direction of Tyler Marchant. Currently in its second smash year, FREUD’S LAST SESSION is also playing to packed houses at Chicago’s Mercury Theatre as well as at Multiteatro in Buenos Aires. Additional productions are set to open into 2013 in major markets across the nation and around the world.
FREUD’S LAST SESSION centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud, an atheist, who invites the young, rising academic star and devout Christian C. S. Lewis to his home in London. Lewis, expecting to be called on the carpet for satirizing Freud in a recent book, soon realizes Freud has a much more significant agenda. On the day England enters World War II, Freud and Lewis clash on the existence of God, love, sex, and the meaning of life – only two weeks before Freud chooses to take his own. Not just a powerful debate, this is a profound and deeply touching play about two men who boldly addressed the greatest questions of all time. FREUD’S LAST SESSION was suggested by the bestselling book The Question of God by Harvard’s Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.
This is a powerful piece of theatre. Humorous, wise, insightful, you feel like you are truly in the presence of these remarkable men, and to see them banter, as they poke at each other’s vulnerabilities and debate about religion, relationships, the end of life, etc., you wonder what secrets each is keeping, and how a reveal might feel. There is much left unsaid, but what is said packs a punch.
Both actors are at the top of their game, particularly Rayner whose physical pain from his oral cancer and mouth prosthetic is palpable. He embodies Freud, and we can’t take our eyes off him, even though it’s painful to watch his suffering at times.
Playwright Mark St. Germain has written the plays Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards), The Best of Enemies, Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap, and Forgiving Typhoid Mary. With Randy Courts, he has written the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller and Jack’s Holiday. TV credits include Writer and Creative Consultant for The Cosby Show. Mark co-wrote the screenplay for the acclaimed film Duma, and he directed and co-produced the documentary My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story featuring Richard Gere, Glenn Close and Edward Albee, among many others.
Mark H. Dold appeared on Broadway in Absurd Person Singular, and his Off-Broadway credits include Shockheaded Peter, Comic Potential, Race, The Winter’s Tale, Othello, The Seagull, Romeo and Juliet, Spread Eagle, and Timon of Athens. Regionally, Mark has appeared at the Mark Taper Forum, Old Globe (San Diego Critics Circle Award), Chicago Shakespeare, Shakespeare DC, Long Wharf (Connecticut Critics Circle Award), Trinity Rep, and Yale Rep.
Martin Rayner’s Broadway credits include The Invention of Love and Sixteen Wounded. His Off-Broadway appearances include Travels with My Aunt, Gates of Gold, Henry V, and Kit Marlowe. Martin’s favorite regional roles were at Yale Rep: Underground and You Never Can Tell; McCarter: Loot; American Repertory Theater: King Lear and When We Dead Awaken; Wilma: The Invention of Love and The Magic Fire. TV credits include Dr. Chaotica on Star Trek: Voyager, Frasier and Benjamin Franklin.
FREUD’S LAST SESSION is presented Off-Broadway by Carolyn Rossi Copeland, Robert Stillman and Jack Thomas. The performance schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8pm; with matinees Wednesday at 2:30pm, Saturday at 2pm, and Sunday at 3pm; and the running time is 79 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $65 and are available at Telecharge.com 212-239-6200 or through www.FreudsLastSession.com. A limited number of $21.50 Student Rush tickets (cash only, with valid student ID) are available at the box office beginning three hours prior to each performance.