By Kenneth Jones
07 Oct 2011
|Photo by Carol Rosegg|
The moving men picked up the couch of the long-running two-character play by Mark St. Germain after the Oct. 2 evening performance at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre on West 64th Street. Its new home is the 199-seat Stage 5 at New World Stages on West 50th Street near Eighth Avenue. Its neighbors in the beehive of theatrical activity at New World include Rent, Avenue Q, Million Dollar Quartet, Gazillion Bubble Show and Naked Boys Singing. (Freud would have a field day.)
The 1939-set Freud's Last Session is about the fictional meeting between Christian writer C.S. Lewis (played by Mark H. Dold) and atheist psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (played by Martin Rayner). It takes place in Freud's London study.
Dold, reached shortly after his Oct. 6 tech rehearsal, told Playbill.com, "There's something really lovely about being a part of an arts complex. You're not the only show going on. In a strange way, there's an energy to the NWS building similar to the cluster of Broadway houses on 44th and 45th streets: Actors buzzing around, all getting to their half-hour calls, musicians with their instrument cases, audiences roaming about. There is a sense of excitement, anticipation, community. I'm looking forward to meeting the other families here — Rent, Million Dollar Quartet and the others. It's nice to be invited to the party that's happening on 50th Street every night; it's re-energizing our show in the best way."
Freud's Last Session is the winner of the 2011 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play, and is produced by Carolyn Rossi Copeland, Robert Stillman and Jack Thomas.
As previously reported, additional productions of Freud's Last Session have happened or are planned for London, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Mexico City, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Palm Beach.
Tyler Marchant directs the play, which "centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud, who invites the young, rising academic star C. S. Lewis 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."
The play, set on the day England enters World War II, has Freud and Lewis clash over "the existence of God, love, sex, and the meaning of life – only two weeks before Freud chooses to take his own," according to the producers.
The play is suggested by the bestselling book "The Question of God" by Harvard's Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.
St. Germain's plays include Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards), The Best of Enemies, Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap and Forgiving Typhoid Mary (Time'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.
Director Marchant was nominated for a 2010 Joe A. Callaway Award for his direction of Freud's Last Session, which premiered at Barrington Stage Company's BSC Stage 2 in Massachusetts, with Dold and Rayner originating roles they would later bring to New York City.
Actor Tuck Milligan (a Helen Hayes Award winner for playing a handful of roles in the Washington, DC, premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Kentucky Cycle) is the standby for both actors. Read Playbill magazine's recent feature about Rayner.
The performance schedule at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street) is Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 & 8 PM, and Sunday at 3 & 7 PM.
Tickets are $65 and are available at New World Stages through Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or at newworldstages.com.
A limited number of $20 Student Rush tickets (cash only, with valid student ID) are available at the box office beginning three hours prior to each performance.