FREUD'S LAST SESSION
Opens: January 13, 2018
Closes: March 4, 2018
September, 1939. On the day England enters World War II, legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud invites the young, rising Oxford don C.S. Lewis to his home in London. There, only weeks before Freud took his own life, they engage in a brain-teasing battle of wits on the subjects of love, sex and the existence of God. Filled with humor, this deeply touching play explores the minds, hearts and souls of two brilliant men addressing the greatest questions of all time. Jan. 13 – March 4: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with four additional weeknight performances on Wed., Jan. 24; Thurs., Feb. 8; Wed,, Feb. 21, and Thurs., March 1, all at 8 p.m. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025; The third Friday of every month (Jan. 19 & Feb. 16)) is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.
"Turns out, this stimulating and highly intellectual play offers much debate on many topics and concerns, not only religious but political as radio broadcasts and air raid sirens interrupt them, causing them to scramble like frightened children for gas masks and the closest bomb shelter when the threat of an imminent air raid takes place. And thanks to Christopher Moscatiello’s brilliant sound design, those broadcasts, as well as Freud’s beloved dog’s offstage barking, are totally realistic."
"Robert Mandel’s precise, rhythmic direction and St. Germain’s brilliantly imagined dialogue, and the perfectly cast intellectual duo, ensured that the premise was realized for the maximum pleasure, intrigue, and intellectual stimulation of the audience."
"In FREUD'S LAST SESSION, playwright Mark St. Germain has written an intricate, very detailed script of what he imagines as a chance meeting between Dr. Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. Set in 1939 London the day England entered World War II, the two very well-read men debate on the existence of God. Watching Martin Rayner as Freud and Martyn Stanbridge as Lewis butt heads in their reasonings of the existence/non-existence of God is much like watching a Wimbleton Tennis Final."
"As usual at the Odyssey, the production values are high. The writing is intelligent, witty, and often surprising; it’s a shame St. Germain doesn’t dig deeper than a debate and venture into the depths that Freud — and Lewis — would surely have braved."
"Audiences who might anticipate a dialectic of importance, but perhaps a bit ponderous, instead find an 80-minute discourse that is cogent, witty and deeply embodied by these two men."
"Martin Rayner as Sigmund Freud and Martyn Stanbridge as C.S. Lewis both convey their characters needs, wants, desires, and beliefs, bringing to life a profound 90 minutes of dialog that takes place on the day that England enters World War II."
"RECOMMENDED… STAGE RAW TOP 10… the two actors work together seamlessly, like musicians performing the late Beethoven quartets… convincing and rich."
"Rayner is spot-on, depicting a man who is struggling with cancer while Stanbridge fills the role of caregiver very capably. They are both firm in their beliefs, and at the same time very good listeners."
"...Freud’s Last Session is a truly captivating theatrical presentation. It does provoke and thus does require some deep thought but it is an exercise very much worth doing."
"Publicity made much of the fact Freud was a devout atheist and was challenging the relatively new Christian convert, which to be fair is a running thread throughout the play. But it really never becomes more. If (as frankly I was) you come expecting to hear something insightful on the subject then you will probably feel some disappointment. Likewise if you desired to learn something really important about these two you might not have simply by watching a documentary or two about these two fascinating characters--again, you will not find that here. The play simply lacks anything approaching that power."
"Freud’s Last Session is theatre at its finest with great performers, a top notch script, and exquisite production design all the way around. It is easy to see why this terrific company has been around for well over forty years. Readers, it would be sad if you missed this show!"
"FAST-MOVING… ENGAGING… it almost brought tears to my eyes to watch an actual ‘point/counterpoint’ done in good faith. This is face-to-face, two humans talking and listening, with all their foibles and humanity, front and center."
"Stanbridge is considerably handsomer than the man he plays, but he conveys the intelligence, education and devoutness of the novelist and theologian. Martin Rayner is Freud. He is so much Freud, we worry he’ll call someone up from the audience for a bit of probing. Rayner radiates brilliance, perceptiveness, confidence."
"This is the rare one-act play you wish was longer so you could experience even more intellectual fireworks and first class acting. Freud’s Last Session should be one of the first plays you see in 2018."
"FIVE STARS… TOTALLY ENGROSSING… intelligent humor and wry, witty jokes… a fascinating and stimulating evening at the theater…. NOT-TO-BE-MISSED"
"From the beginning the theatrical dynamic derives less from the ideas that are bandied about than from the characters and their contrasts. And the actors serve it well — Rayner, intimidatingly authentic as a smug, brittle, brilliant Freud, who minces no words in his takedown of others, less from cruelty than his own implacable vision of reality; and Stanbridge as the more open-minded and charitable Lewis, who overlooks Freud’s affronts and springs to action at the moment of crisis."
"EXCELLENT… a verbal power fight between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis that is spiked with humor and wit.” — Cornelia Betschart de Fuertes, California Germans."
"Robert Mandel's shrewd direction kept the pace of the play fast and smooth without being rushed, pushing each rebuttal quick on the other's heels."
"It would be impossible to find fault with the riveting performances by these two highly skilled actors as well as the spot-on direction. What is missing is real dramatic conflict. The only very dramatic, albeit kind of stomach turning moment, is when Freud has a bad coughing attack. However, I appreciated the refreshingly clever dialogue and although we may have heard these arguments before, we may not have heard them couched so eloquently."