What would have happened if if the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and the author and theologist C.S. Lewis had met and discussed their diametrically opposed world views? That's the situation imagined in Mark St. Germain's play Freud's Last Session on stage now at the Phoenix Theatre.
The fascinating show is a brisk 80 minutes with rapid-fire dialogue and no intermission. The two-actor production features Gordon McCall as Freud and Scot Greenwell as Lewis. At first their accents are a bit jarring, but soon the audience is caught up in their fierce sparring and everything else fades to the background. The men give excellent performances, oscillating between friendly banter and heated debate.
The meeting of the two great minds never actually happened, but much of the rest of the show is based on fact. Shortly before his death, Freud moved to London to escape the Nazi occupation in Austria. In the play he and Lewis are caught in the midst of the London bombings and between that and Freud's cancer, death is never far from their minds.
The bombings and Freud's illness serve as segues between discussion points as the men cover a myriad of topics. The talk about religion, sex, joy, death, marriage, sickness, music, suicide, parents and more. They were both intellectuals and rather than arguing their points they parry back and forth with the rhythm and humor of old friends, rarely escalating to emotional outbursts.
The engaging show is a tribute to the importance discussing ideas instead of ignoring people whose beliefs differ from your own. It doesn't preach one point of view, but instead it starts a conversation that will leave you thinking about each point for days.
Don't Miss the Show
For more information about the Phoenix Theatre, visit www.phoenixtheatre.org. The theater is located at 749 N. Park Ave., Indianapolis, just off Massachusetts Ave.
Performances: The show runs until April 15 and offers four performances a week. Thursdays begin at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturdays begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Tickets: To purchase tickets, call (317) 635-PLAY (7529). Prices range from $15 to $20.
Photos Courtesy of the Phoenix Theatre