Freud vs Lewis: What If?

Well, here it is, the last theater review I may post up for a while. Let me begin by saying that all the plays that my class saw were absolutely amazing. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch. The only thing I really regret about the class was the late nights, although that was specified in the course description so I had no choice (we only saw one matinee out of the bunch). If given the chance, I would definitely do this again, since it gave me a chance to really enjoy a piece of New York on the cheap.

The last play we saw is called Freud’s Last Session. It’s set right before England enters World War II (on an unrelated note, I really really really want to see The King’s Speech right now) as C.S. Lewis visits Sigmeund Freud’s study in London to talk about why the former has recently converted to Anglicanism from atheism (is convert the right word here? Going from belief that there is no God to belief in God…). The two men bicker fiercely, with each of them leading the argument going back and forth, their argument being broken at times by Prime Minister Chamberlain’s repeated updates, an air raid siren, and British planes. In the end, of course, nothing gets resolved, but it is implied that Freud learns a thing or two from Lewis.

The acting in this show was absolutely phenomenal, although Lewis’s actor’s British accent did take a little time to get used to. Especially significant was Freud’s actor; his old man gait and his hacking and wheezing? All an act, yet he makes it look like he is actually afflicted by these ailments (Although that’s the point, really, but this guy did it better than anyone I’ve seen). Both men use arguments that I’ve seen quite often in modern religious debates — what makes them different, however, is that they do not resort to the simple ad hominem attack that I see so often in current religious debates. (And, of course, Godwin’s Law doesn’t apply here, as Hitler is, of course, alive and well during the events of this play.) Kudos to the playwright for actually providing us an intelligent debate about God rather than the degenerate flamewars we get over the internet today.

The only things really questionable were parts of the set. Freud’s study has a door where everyone enters and exits, but there’s nothing behind it — not even a backdrop to make it seem like a hallway. And off to the right, there is supposedly a view of a garden, but from where I was sitting, I could clearly see the lights that were placed there to imitate the sun. These little quirks shouldn’t take away from the enjoyment of the play at all, however.

And because this is Freud, they do talk about sex. Not that much, though, as sexuality is not the main topic here.

See it at the Marjorie Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA.

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