What would happen if Freud and C.S. Lewis were put in one room? That question is answered in “Freud’s Last Session,” a play directed by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s very own assistant theatre professor Tyler Marchant. “Freud’s Last Session” has recently moved its theatre performance space to the New World Stages in New York City in the heart of Times Square.
Marchant got involved with the production after he directed plays for the Barrington Stage Company.
“Most of my career has been made on working on new plays and musicals,” Marchant said. Marchant worked with Mark St. Germain, the playwright of “Freud’s Last Session,” and the play was produced in the summer of 2009.
The show focuses on Dr. Sigmund Freud in his last years and a young C.S. Lewis. The two have opposing viewpoints about religion and faith, among many other aspects of life, making their discussion quickly personal. The two end up clashing while trying to defend their fundamental beliefs.
Marchant was drawn to the script due to “The fact that these are the two smartest men in the 20th century and they’re talking about things most people have made a decision about (faith) […] no matter what side of the fence you were on, it makes you consider either side.”
The play struck a chord within the theatrical community gaining many favorable reviews. “It’s a thinking play […] I don’t think theatre challenges us very intellectually anymore,” Marchant said. Marchant also placed a great emphasis on the fact that this is not just a play about serious subjects, but that comic relief is also quite prevalent. It doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“It’s still damn funny,” Marchant said. Due to its popularity, the play kept on extending performances before a New York producer picked it up and brought it to the Marjorie Dean Theatre in New York in the summer of 2010. This October, the show was moved to the New World Stages located in Times Square. This straight play shares the building with musicals such as “Rent” and “Avenue Q.”
“I’m really excited. I just adds another level of legitimacy to the production […] more people will get to see the play,” Marchant said. “Freud’s Last Session” has had over 500 productions and was the longest running show in Barrington Stage Company’s history. The play has also been produced internationally in cities such as London, Madrid and Tokyo.
“I love that without any bells and whistles the show has not only survived but thrived,” Marchant said.
For those hoping to see the show, “Freud’s Last Session” will be opening in Chicago next year.