Freud’s Last Session Is Brilliant Theater
Ed Shea, as Freud, and Wayne Kneeland, as Lewis, have electrifying chemistry.by Joe Seigel, MOTIF Magazine
What would happen if you put two highly intellectual individuals in a room and let them debate the existence of God? Freud’s Last Session, a witty and provocative play by Mark St. Germain, isolates the legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud and the author C.S. Lewis in Freud’s office for a riveting 60 minutes at Warren’s 2nd Story Theater. The show opened in previews on June 6 and runs through August 3.
Ed Shea, as Freud, and Wayne Kneeland, as Lewis, have electrifying chemistry as they argue over the existence of God, the meaning of the Bible, humor, sexuality and Freud’s plans for his own suicide. St. Germain’s dialogue is brilliant as it displays the different personalities of these two highly articulate and opinionated men. Freud acts on his intellect, not on emotions. Lewis was critical of Freud’s views and is not hesitant to debate him on religion and the nature of God. “I state the truth no matter who it outrages,” Freud says at one point.
Freud’s Last Session takes place in London at the outset of World War II, and air raid sirens frequently sound. Freud and Lewis listen to the radio for news updates, and the anxiety of living in a turbulent era clearly affects both men profoundly. Their essential vulnerabilities are exposed as they seek solace from the violence erupting all around them. But despite this stark drama, there is a great amount of humor in the play.
Director Pat Hegnauer created a fast-paced show that challenges the audience to reconsider their own views toward many subjects, including religion, and there is an effective moment at the end of the play where Freud reveals his chat with Lewis allowed him also to reconsider one of his views. It is just one of many reasons to witness Freud’s Last Session.