|Kenneth Tigar and Ron Menzel in Geva Theater’s production of Freud’s Last Session|
I’m a theater fan to begin with. I don’t need much encouragement to get a lot out of a quality play.
I’m also a C.S. Lewis fan. Any combination of great theater and great literature is bound to be a Jessi-pleaser.
I also love theology–respectful; debates about the existence of God, to be exact–and all of the inspiring words and art that can come out of it.
So imagine my delight when my trip to go see a play at Rochester’s Geva Theater in order to write a college newspaper article about the show turned out to be a perfect synthesis of the three!
Set on the turbulent cusp of World War II, Freud’s Last Session is a story of a meeting between C.S. Lewis, a soon-to-be renowned author and Christian, and Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis and an atheist on the verge of death from oral cancer. What results is a genuine, compelling, and witty exploration of life, death, war, sexuality, God, and much more.
I was not only delighted by the content of this play by Mark St. Germain. I was also floored by the quality of the particular production. The casting was quite superb, and both actors were equally convincing. Their portrayals of each character was at once honorable and imperfect. Every time that Lewis’s voice cracked as he recalled his days in the French theater in World War II, my heart broke a little bit. Freud’s calloused crankiness hid a soul tortured by illness behind his white beard and well-executed Austrian accent.
In a true theater snob moment, I bit my tongue while a few of my friends and even a professor who had seen the show mentioned that they thought Lewis’s accent sounded “weird” and “muddled.” I resisted the urge to say, “Well, the actor obviously knew that Lewis lived in Ireland for a few years after he was born and was trying to incorporate that into the accent.” Hah, I didn’t think interjecting that into the conversation would have made me any friends.
It was really an incredibly effective show, and I liked it so much that I took Josh with me to see it again the next week. I was just as moved the second time. Josh was equally impressed and in love, and we spent the next several hours discussing how it had impacted us. Josh told me towards the end of the evening that it was inspired conversations like these that reminded him why he fell in love with me in the first place. Wasn’t that sweet of him?
Find an opportunity to go see it somewhere. It could save your relationship. Haha 🙂