Freud's Last Session, a Meeting of C.S. Lewis and Dr. Freud, Opens in NYC

By Kenneth Jones
22 Jul 2010

Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner
Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner
Photo by Kevin Sprague

Mark St. Germain's Freud's Last Session, the two-character "what-if" play about the imagined meeting of atheist psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and Christian author C.S. Lewis, makes its New York City debut, opening July 22 after previews from July 9, following popular engagements in Massachusetts.

Prior to its start at The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side Y at 10 W. 64th Street at Central Park West in Manhattan, the intimate staging featuring Mark H. Dold as Lewis and Martin Rayner as Freud played a return engagement at the Barrington Stage Company's Stage 2 in Pittsfield, MA, June 22-July 3. The work was a hit for BSC in summer 2009, with Dold and Rayner creating the roles, and producers picked up the staging to give it a new life.

The Massachusetts creative team, including director Tyler Marchant, continues with project. Brian Prather's detailed original set design of Freud's cluttered London consulting-room is also re-created Off-Broadway.

Freud's Last Session, according to production notes, "centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud (Martin Rayner), who invites the young, rising academic star C.S. Lewis (Mark H. Dold) 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, the joy of love, the purpose of sex, and the meaning of life — just a few weeks before Freud's own death."



Actors Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner talk about creating the characters of C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud for Freud's Last Session.
The play is suggested by Dr. Armand Nicholi's "The Question of God," which was presented as a two-part PBS television presentation in 2004.

The production team includes Mark Mariani (costume design), Clifton Taylor (lighting design) and Beth Lake (sound design). Kate J. Cudworth is production stage manager.

Playwright Mark St. Germain has written the plays Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards), Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap and Forgiving Typhoid Mary (Time Magazine's "Year's Ten Best"). With Randy Courts, he has written the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller (winner of an AT&T New Plays for the Nineties Award) and Jack's Holiday at Playwrights Horizons.

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, he 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.


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. His regional credits include Yale Rep's Underground and You Never Can Tell; McCarter's Loot, American Repertory Theater's King Lear and When We Dead Awaken, among others.

Freud's Last Session is being presented Off-Broadway by Carolyn Rossi Copeland, Robert Stillman and Jack Thomas.

Performances are Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM. Tickets are $65 and are available by calling (866) 811-4111 or through www.FreudsLastSession.com.

A limited number of $20 student rush tickets (with valid student ID) will be available at the box office beginning three hours prior to each performance.