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The Doctor Is In At Rep’s Studio Theater

Harry Hamm
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harry star 3andahalfstars The Doctor Is In At Reps Studio Theater

Only two days before he died (with the assistance of his physician) after a  long-suffering struggle with a cancerous growth in his mouth, Sigmund Freud had a lengthy meeting with renown literary critic and novelist C. S. Lewis. The meeting was at Freud’s home outside London. The topic was mostly about religion, spirituality and the existence of a God. Both men differed greatly on the topics, but both respected each other. That meeting is what is chronicled in the one-act studio play, “Freud’s Last Session.”

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Photo courtesy of The Rep

As the opening production of The Rep’s new Studio Theater season, “Freud’s Last Session” touts a handsome set design of Freud’s study. It always amazes me that The Rep is able to construct such rich and original scenic designs in such a relatively small space. It is always perfect, and in some cases, minimally brilliant.

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Photo courtesy of The Rep

The most striking moments of this show occur when Freud is under the painful attack of an appliance he has to wear in his mouth because of surgery on his cancerous growth. There’s also a moment when the air raid sirens go off and both Freud and Lewis panic when they believe for a few minutes that the home is going to be bombed by the Germans.

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Photo courtesy of The Rep

Freud is played by Barry Mulholland and Lewis by Jim Butz. Both are amazingly accurate in their physical appearance. Even though the topic is normally an inflammatory one, “Freud’s Last Session” is a very genteel show with the only tense moments being Freud’s physical pain and the potential German air raid. It’s almost as if those two elements were inserted in the script to achieve a needed edge.

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Photo courtesy of The Rep

If you are expecting verbal and philosophical fireworks, you won’t find them in this one hour and twelve-minute production. Considering the topics, I would have preferred that to a potential bombing run by the Germans. The presentation is interesting and the acting convincing. But it’s almost like you’re a fly on the wall of a meeting of two great minds who were having a somewhat insipid day. That’s the way it is written, and that’s the way you’ll experience it.

http://www.repstl.org/season/show/freuds_last_session

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