Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner Bring Freud's Couch to Chicago, Starting March 21
By Kenneth Jones
The Chicago premiere of Mark St. Germain's two-character drama Freud's Last Session, about a meeting of opposite forces C.S. Lewis and Dr. Sigmund Freud, features the play's original cast — Mark H. Dold as Christian writer Lewis and Martin Rayner as atheist psychoanalyst Freud — beginning March 21 at the Mercury Theatre.
The long-running Off-Broadway play continues in New York at New World Stages. The Chicago run opens March 26. The limited engagement, representing the staging that premiered at Barrington Stage Company in Massachusetts and then moved to New York City, will play to June 3.
Freud's Last Session, directed by Tyler Marchant, won the 2011 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play. Jim Stanek and George Morfogen play Lewis and Freud, respectively, in New York.
For Dold, the Mercury run is a Windy City homecoming. He grew up 20 miles north of Chicago in the Northshore suburb of Glenview, graduating from Glenbrook South High School.
Dold told Playbill.com on March 20, "What could be better than sharing this show with my hometown? My housing in Old Town is around the corner from where my mother grew up. I'm walking the streets of her childhood. I feel reconnected with my family history. I'm getting emails and Facebook messages from high school friends, family friends and others. They're all coming! They've all bought tickets! I'm flattered, I'm touched, I'm not surprised. Chicagoans are such generous people."
Here's how producers characterize the play: "Freud's Last Session: centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud, who invites the 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. On the day England enters World War II, Freud and Lewis clash on the existence of God, love, sex, and the meaning of life — only 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."
St. Germain's play was suggested by the bestselling book "The Question of God" by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr., professor of psychology at Harvard University. St. Germain has written the plays 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, among others.
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 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. Regionally, he appeared in Yale Rep's Underground and You Never Can Tell; McCarter's Loot; American Repertory Theater's King Lear and When We Dead Awaken; Wilma's The Invention of Love and The Magic Fire. He was Dr. Chaotica on "Star Trek: Voyager."
Freud's Last Session is presented in Chicago and Off-Broadway by Carolyn Rossi Copeland, Robert Stillman and Jack Thomas. Scenic design is by Brian Prather, costume design by Mark Mariani, lighting design by Clifton Taylor and sound design by Beth Lake.
The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 2 PM and 7:30 PM, Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM and Sundays at 1 PM and 4 PM.
Tickets range from $55 to $45. Student tickets are $22 (with valid student ID) and a limited number of rush tickets are available at the box office beginning three hours prior to each performance. For tickets and information contact the Mercury Theater at (773) 325-1700 or www.mercurytheaterchicago.com.
For more information, visit www.FreudsLastSession.com.
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