Reupholster the Couch! Freud's Last Session Extends to Sept. 4, at Least

By Kenneth Jones
May 18, 2011

Freud's Last Session, the Mark St. Germain play about the fictional meeting between atheist Dr. Sigmund Freud and Christian writer C.S. Lewis, will continue into the summer at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater on the Upper West Side.



Demand has prompted producers to extend sales to Sept. 4. This is not a closing date, but an extension of the on-sale dates. Featuring Mark H. Dold as Lewis and Martin Rayner as Freud, Freud's Last Session is the winner of the 2011 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play.

After opening to solid notices on July 22, 2010, the play has sold out many of its performances, with audiences eager to eavesdrop on the 85-minute meeting of the minds. Critics have said it's a sharp introduction to the essence of the two influential 20th-century thinkers.

St. Germain's play was suggested by the bestselling book "The Question of God" by Harvard's Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.

Tyler Marchant directs the Off-Broadway production, which began as a summer hit for Barrington Stage Company in Massachusetts. Marchant was nominated for a 2010 Joe A. Callaway Award for his direction of Freud's Last Session.

The play (in independent stagings) is to be produced in major markets in the U.S. and internationally in 2011-12.

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, love, sex, and the meaning of life — just two weeks before Freud chooses to take his own. Not just a powerful debate, this is a profound and deeply touching play about two men who boldly addressed the greatest questions of all time."

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 is a 2011 Drama League Award nominee for Distinguished Performance. His 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.

Read the Playbill.com feature offering a conversation between Dold and Rayner, who speak about their approach to their roles in Freud's Last Session.

The playwright's other work includes 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.

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

The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre is at 10 W. 64th Street (at Central Park West). The performance schedule is Tuesdays at 7 PM, Wednesday through Friday evenings at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 & 8 PM, and Sundays at 3 & 7 PM.

Tickets are $65 and are available by calling (212) 352-3101 or through www.FreudsLastSession.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.

For more information, visit www.FreudsLastSession.com.

View highlights from Freud's Last Session: