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  Freud's Last Session at Mercury Theater

Freud's Last Session

Mercury Theater
3745 N. Southport Ave Chicago

Freud's Last Session centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud, who invites the rising academic star C. S. Lewis to his home in London. Lewis, expecting to be called on the carpet for satirizing Freud in a recent book, soon realizes Freud has a much more significant agenda. On the day England enters World War II, Freud and Lewis clash on the existence of God, love, sex, and the meaning of life – only two weeks before Freud chooses to take his own. Not just a powerful debate, this is a profound and deeply touching play about two men who boldly addressed the greatest questions of all time. Mark St. Germain’s celebrated new play was suggested by the bestselling book The Question of God by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr., professor of psychology at Harvard University.

Thru - Nov 11, 2012

Wednesdays: 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 1:00pm & 5:00pm

Price: $45-$55

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-325-1700

Running Time: 1hr, 15mins

Mercury Theater Seating Chart

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  Freud's Last Session Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...The other clever aspect of a well-paced show (a show you don't really want to end) is its setting on the very day that Britain entered the war, both an explanation of why Freud had to get out of Austria, and a reminder of one of central tenants of Freud's arguments: "Man's physical self evolves but not man's character." That's one of many things about which this modestly scaled but wholly engaging play will leave you thinking."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...A few obvious jokes about couches and cigars slip into the dialogue, but Martin Rayner and Mark Dold deliver such assured and passionate performances that one forgives the occasional smug jest. Tyler Marchant's staging captures a threnody of incipient loss, underscored by radio reports of the Nazi offensive."
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Kerry Reid

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...The play is zinging in its mordant wit and sharp in its delineation of two vastly dissimilar personalities. It is a clever mind-game: diverting, often laughter-inducing, peppered with sly surprises, occasionally provocative. But profound, no. Profound is a play this one brings to mind — David Ives’ “New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza,” in which the 17th century Dutch-Jewish philosopher, facing excommunication for atheism, rebukes his inquisitors for challenging his belief in God. Belief has nothing to do with it, says Spinoza: God is logically unavoidable, necessary, the ultimate cause."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Freud’s Last Session is one of those rare events in today’s theater, an adult play in the best sense of that much-abused word. It’s absorbing, often eloquent, and best of all, accessible, no matter what the viewers’ religious convictions and how wary they are of highbrow plays. The play may not effect any conversions to either theological view but it will entertain, and perhaps stir some patrons to vigorous chat over drinks after the leaving the Mercury."
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Dan Zeff

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...What makes this polished work so compelling ,besides the powerfully smart banter, is the deep character development by Dold and Rayner. They bring Lewis and Freud to life as vulnerable humans. We understand and empathize with each. Playwright Mark St. German correctly presents both sides of these grand questions of all-time. We leave understanding both sides of the God question. But, ultimately Freud’s Last Session is as much a character study as it is a morality debate. There is nay a dull moment in this superb show. I was riveted by every word and gesture. Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner (both from the original cast) were spellbinding."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...The audience remains the unseen arbiter of these arguments. But the friction sparked between Mark H. Dold’s sympathetic Lewis (who becomes a nurse to Freud when the old man’s cancer starts spurting blood) and Martin Rayner’s magisterial but declining Freud generates all the electricity that can heat and light a theater."

Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"...The parody is rewarded with chuckles every time. Rayner does an amazing job humanizing the legend. We see the arrogance and the vulnerability, the brilliance and the flawed. Rayner gives a powerful and painful portrayal of a man dying. There is a beautifully tender moment when Mark H. Dold (Lewis) cradles Rayner on the couch. Dold has these glimpses of sheer helplessness in his otherwise droll delivery. Dold counters Rayner with a cocky mixture of respect and determination. Even the physical contrast between a strapping Dold and hunched Rayner adds to the genuine humanity of the meeting. Rayner and Dold become these SUPER super-egos."
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Katy Walsh

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... This is an intense , yet comical, look at the personalities and characters of two scholarly men, who clash on the very existence of many topics: God, Love, sex and the meaning of life itself. Freud has cancer and knows that his death is imminent, but feels the need to explore his thoughts with this young “rising star” i the literary world. Dold handles the nervous tension felt by Lewis at the onset very well, and as the 90 minutes of chatter and chess playing with ideas between the two men proceed, we see his character become stronger and more forceful, and yet, while he gets stronger , he never loses sight of the man he is with and his respect and admiration for him."
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Alan Bresloff

Huffington Post - Recommended

"...Under Tyler Marchant's direction, this two-hander clips along with wit and charm. While at times I found the piece a little speechifying -- more a forensics debate than actual theatre -- there are a few true last-minute moments of humanity (which are magnified by Rayner and Dold's expertly nuanced performances) that bring a bit of much-needed heart into the brainy subject matter."
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Bob Bullen

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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