Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Had A Session with Freud

Last week my wife and I were in New York City with good friends. We had a session with Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. If you either get to New York City in the near future or "Freud's Last Session" comes to a city within driving distance from where you live, do yourself a favor and go see this wonderful play. I assure you, you will not regret it at all.

It is a wonderful play that features an imagined meeting of the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud of Vienna, at 83, who welcomes the young, rising Oxford professor, C.S Lewis, at 41, to his home in London. Lewis anticipates that he will be chided for his satirizing Sigmund Freud, under the name Sigismund, in his recently published book, The Pilgrim's Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism. However, Lewis soon recognizes that Freud has a far greater objective.

The conversation occurs on September 3, 1939, the very day England finally enters the war with Germany. Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis engage their own conflict concerning God's existence, love's joy, sex's purpose, and life's meaning just a few weeks before Freud eventually ends his own life. Certainly this play features the clash between two antithetical worldviews. But it is more than a debate. It highlights character development of Freud and of Lewis, showing how their respective worldviews shape them as men. Given the setting with the tension of anticipated war, Lewis' survival on the battlefields of the Great War, Freud's painful suffering the effects of cancer, and the clash of opposing worldviews, the play bears a profundity wrapped with humanity, with Freud's well dramatized suffering and Lewis' equally well performed empathetic touch, all while two men who have left their deep imprints on the history of ideas articulately engage the greatest of all questions humans ask. In the end, the play features the God of Christianity over against the god of Freud's own design, which is no god at all and certainly no god of comfort, of hope, and of life everlasting.



See Marvin Olansky's brief review in World.

See "Freud's Last Session" at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, 10 West 64th Street, a block from Lincoln Center and next door to 2 West 64th Street, where Redeemer Presbyterian Church meets on the Upper West Side.

See here for another longer review.

The play is based upon The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life by Armand M. Nicholi.

4 comments:

Latha Vijayakumar said...

OK if you accept my comment or not, I want to inform you that your blog is so beautiful.

A. B. Caneday said...

Thanks, Latha.

Are you related to Joshua and Parimala Vijayakumar in Maderai? They're friends of mine.

rachel neil said...

very good article, I'll be back to visit.
http://studyjesus.blogspot.com

Dakota said...

Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower, and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well.

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,
Dakota - A Look at Life from a Deerstand