Update: Performances of Freud's Last Session have been extended through March 2.
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 as 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 Twentieth Century," says Tyler Marchant who'll be directing the Alley Theatre production on the smaller Neuhaus stage (and who directed the original production in Massachusetts). He compared their discussions to the kind of great themes college students debate into the wee hours of the night.
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"As an adult you've made your decisions, but this play asks you to dive back in."
St. Germain said when the play first ran they had next to no expectations for it, but it ended up scoring the longest production run ever for the Barrington Stage Company before moving to off-Broadway for 800 performances.
"From the very beginning, we had crowds there with no reviews but there was something about the two figures that really attracted people," St. Germain says. 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."
"Someone once wrote that seeing this play should be a three-hour experience. An hour and a half to watch the play and an hour and a half to argue with whoever you're with afterward," St. Germain says. Freud's Last session opens January 29 and runs through
February 23 March 2 at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For information call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $26- $75.