Mark St Germain’s award-winning 2010 Off-Broadway play Freud’s Last Session gets its European and UK premiere next month at London’s King’s Head Theatre. Time to get booking!
Real-life psychiatrist turned actor Dr Julian Bird plays the controversial founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, in this thought-provoking play, which runs for a strictly limited season from 18 January to 12 February 2022, with a press night on 20 January.
The first of September, 1939. Sigmund Freud, the world-renowned psychoanalyst awaits the visit of soon-to-be-legendary author CS Lewis on the day World War Two is declared.
Lewis, a former atheist turned Christian is expecting to be taken to task for his recent satirisation of Freud in a book. However, the impending war and Freud’s failing health catalyses a far deeper conversation as they clash about the existence of God, love, sex, and the meaning of life – only two weeks before Freud, with his doctor’s help, takes his own.
Through an imagined conversation between a psychiatrist on the brink and the academic who would go on to write books steeped in theology, Mark St Germain‘s award-winning play Freud’s Last Session gives a heightened tension to the age-old questions of faith, love, sex and existence itself.
Dr Julian Bird (Eastenders, The Tudors) takes the title role opposite Sean Browne (The Thompsons, Emmerdale) playing CS Lewis in this humorous two-hander.
King’s Head Theatre associate artist Peter Darney returns to the venue to direct this UK and European premiere production. Darney said:
“Freud’s Last Session may be based in 1939 – but it feels so relevant and not just because Freud and CS Lewis’ work still touches us today. The play looks at a time when the potential for tragedy increased and the norms of people’s lives were disrupted; and how that catalyses thinking around what’s really important. What we believe in. What we will fight for. And when it’s time to surrender.”
Nearly There Productions was founded 15 years ago to explore psychological issues. The company had dramatic success with Meslier at the Edinburgh Festival, which transferred to the King’s Head Theatre as The Last Priest.
What the critics say
“Mark St Germain’s script is astute and the humour is plentiful” – New York Times
“A juicy intellectual debate between two great minds” – New York Post
“Lively, plausible, provocative, dynamic and often comical” – Associated Press
“One of the most stimulating plays of its kind to come my way” – Wall Street Journal
“Riveting theatre” – Huffington Post
“Thrilling! A gripping intellectual contest!” – Variety
Mark St Germain (writer) has written the plays Freud’s Last Session (Off Broadway Alliance Award), Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award), Forgiving Typhoid Mary (Time Magazine’s “Year’s Ten Best”) and Becoming Dr Ruth, the story of Dr. Ruth Westheimer. He also wrote the play Best of Enemies (adapted from the novel by Osha Gray Davidson), Ears on a Beatle, Scott and Hem and Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap. His play Relativity, starred Richard Dreyfuss at Theaterworks in Hartford and Mike Nussbaum at Northlight in Chicago and broke both theatres’ box office records. In 2019 Mark’s adaptation of John Updike’s novel Gertrude and Claudius premiered at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival.
With Randy Courts, he has written the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller and Jack’s Holiday. His musical Stand By Your Man, The Tammy Wynette Story, was created for Nashville’s Ryman Theater. Mark co-wrote the screenplay for Carroll Ballard’s Warner Brothers film Duma. He directed and produced the documentary My Dog, An Unconditional Love Story, featuring Richard Gere, and Glenn Close among others. Television credits include The Cosby Show and Crime and Punishment.
Peter Darney (director) is a King’s Head associate artist and a writer/director working in Theatre and Film. He wrote and directed the award-winning 5 Guys Chillin which has been produced Off-Broadway, Toronto, Sydney, Paris, Dublin, Edinburgh, Brighton and London, and was named one of ’Ten Plays That Shaped Queer Theatre History’ by the Evening Standard. Directing credits include The Spy Plays (Above The Stag Theatre), The Drag (Arcola Theatre), High Ridin’ (Kings Head Theatre), Free and Proud (Theatre 503/Assembly Festival), The Revengers Tragedy (The Rose Playhouse), James Dean Is Dead (Kings Head Theatre), Pinocchio (Sutton Theatres), Signal Failure (SoHo Playhouse-Off Broadway 6 week run/ The Underbelly Edinburgh), Kindness, BBC Radio 4 (Pick of the week- the Independent), Githa (St James Theatre, W/E and York Theatre Royal), 6 degree’s (Soho Theatre: Main House), Frank Sent Me (Soho Theatre, Best Play 2013 Writer’s Avenue), Edward II (The Rose Playhouse), Mysterious Skin (Gilded Balloon, The Drill Hall, Teacher’s Club, Dublin), Arden of Faversham (The Rose Playhouse), Beautiful thing (BAC). Peter is a member of BFI X BAFTA Crew, and currently has film projects in development with companies including BBC Wales, Ffilm Cymru, Fullwell 73 and Empty Room Productions.
Julian Bird of #FreudsLastSession at a photoshoot in the space @KingsHeadThtr yesterday for his @guardian interview, running in the paper in the new year. pic.twitter.com/x9pqtxy2Dr
— Mobius (@MobiusTheatre) December 17, 2021
Julian Bird (Sigmund Freud) trained as an actor at Royal Central in his sixties after a career as a physician and psychiatrist and medical school teacher in London and in the US. Theatre work includes Much Ado about Nothing (Park Theatre), A Safer Space (Theatre 503), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Globe Theatre Tour), King Lear (Rose Theatre Bankside), Tronald Dump (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Three Sisters (Arts Theatre West End). TV includes The Tudors, Lines In The Sand and EastEnders.
Séan Brown (CS Lewis) – TV includes: Emmerdale (ITV), American Monster (Discovery Channel), Eagles – Break Up Of The Bands (ITV), Queens: Virgin & Martyr (BBC), Doctors (BBC), Coronation Street (ITV), EastEnders (BBC), Red Cap (BBC), Harry And Cosh (Channel 5), Love Bites (ITV). Film includes: The Fall Of The Krays, The Thompsons, Facial, Chroma, Martin, I’ll Meet You There, Hunting Bears, Reality Mine, Green Means Stop, The Ghost Of Morris Horn, Manali Cream, Beginner’s Luck. Theatre includes: Spy Plays (Above The Stag Theatre), Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest (The Mill at Sonning), Fighter (Stratford Circus Arts Centre), Goody (Greenwich Theatre), The Three Lions (St James Theatre / The Edinburgh Festival Pleasance), The Shape Of Things (The Arcola), The Great Gatsby (King’s Head Theatre), A Rude Awakening (New End Theatre), This Is How It Goes (The English Theatre of Hamburg), Suburbia (Pentameters Theatre), Personals (The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival), Julius Caesar (Barbican International Theatre Events).
Freud’s Last Session runs from 18 January to 12 February 2022 at the King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, London N1 1QN, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7pm, matinees Sundays at 2.30pm. Tickets from £10. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!