Freud’s Last Session

One is near the end of his life, a world-renowned psychoanalyst who is physically ailing but resolute in his atheism. The other is a young Oxford don who has yet to become known for his writing, but he’s committed himself to Christianity. In Freud’s Last Session, playwright Mark St. Germain constructs a meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis (who would later write The Chronicles of Narnia) and places it on the same day that England decides to enter World War II, with all the inherent tension that accompanied that moment.

“These are two of the smartest minds of the 20th century,” says Tyler Marchant, who directed the Alley Theatre production on the smaller Neuhaus stage (and who directed the original production in Massachusetts). Rather than a dry point-counterpoint, St. Germain says, “I tried to present them as human beings and not lecturers, and so there’s a lot of humor in the play. As an adult you’ve made your decisions, but this play asks you to dive back in.” When the play first ran, says St. Germain, there were next to no expectations for it, but it ended up scoring the longest production run ever for the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, before it moved to off-Broadway for 800 performances. “From the very beginning, we had crowds,” St. Germain adds.

7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. This production has been extended through March 2. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $26 to $75.
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2:30 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 24. Continues through March 2, 2014

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