C.S. Lewis (Mark H. Dold) and Sigmund Freud (Martin Rayner)
A provocative summer surprise, The Barrington Stage Production of Freud's Last Session at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater on the upper west side, is a thoughtful and unexpectedly moving play by Mark St. Germaine. The play follows the meeting of author and academic C.S. Lewis (Mark H. Dold) and Sigmund Freud (Martin Rayneor) in London at the beginning of World War II. Lewis, at the time, a recent convert to Catholicisim, had satirized Freud in a book and he assumed that his invitation to Freud's consultation rooms was to receive a rebuke from the founder of psychoanalysis. Instead, Freud,at the end of his life, suffering from incurable cancer, engages the young author in a conversation that quickly becomes a fascinating debate about religion, psychoanalysis, spirituality, love, and war. The dialogue is fast paced. at times amusing, but always stimulating, and brings in elements of the lives of each of the two characters. Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner are marvelous, bringing to life this plausible meeting on the day that the Nazi's invaded Poland. Set design by Brian Prather, which brings the audience directly into any photograph that you may ever scene of Freud's consultation room, and costume design by Mark Mariani together bring an astounding versimilitude that completes the transformation of Mr. Dold's and Mr. Rayner's top notch performances.
The play at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side Y is an intriguing and intelligent conversation between two complex and philosophical personalities. The performance we attended on Saturday night was packed. Offering lively performances, thoughtful playwrighting and marvelous stagecraft, Freud's Last Session is an entertaining and intelligent summer gem not to be missed.