Friday, July 20, 2012

Freud's Last Session

It seems that any time I'm going to Chicago's Mercury Theater, it is for a two-person play based on something by C.S. Lewis. Last time, it was ""The Screwtape Letters." This week is was "Freud's Last Session": a what-if conversation between a young professor Lewis and a dying Sigmund Freud just as World War II breaks out. (It seems that there was an unidentified Oxford professor who had paid a visit to Freud's London address.)

It was refreshing to hear some real arguments on questions that mattered to both of those worthies--and to us today. The existence of God; the meaning of suffering; the futility of war; the need for a "Theology of the Body" (Karol Wojtyla, who would answer that call, was experiencing the Nazi invasion of Poland). Actors Mike Nussbaum (spectacular as Freud) and Coburn Goss (a genial and confident Lewis) demonstrate the lost art of respectful, passionate disagreement.

While there were times when I felt the eighty minutes weighing a bit, at other moments, I wished there was a pause button so we in the audience could engage in our own respectful, passionate discussion of the urgent topics raised. The set, charmingly crowded with books, antiquities and period furniture, played its own important part. (The radio, of course, was almost a third character, making contributions throughout).

The show runs in Chicago through September 2; still time enough for church groups, discussion groups and book clubs to schedule it in.
As they should.

*Tickets are kind of pricey, but on Wednesdays, Seniors get $10 off main floor seats.

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