The existence of God has been debated since the dawn of time and now two of the 20th century’s brightest minds are taking a stab at the argument.
Freud’s Last Session portrays the hypothetical situation of psychologist and well-known atheist Sigmund Freud and devout Christian and author of the Narnia Chronicles C.S. Lewis going head-to-head in a battle of wit and wisdom. And on April 19 and 20, ACE Productions is bringing the play to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
Written by playwright Mark St. Germain and first produced in 2009, Freud’s Last Session was inspired by Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Armand M. Nicholi Jr. The professor included Lewis’ Christian beliefs into a course on Freud’s atheism, and the contrast worked better than anticipated.
“St. Germain’s script brings his extensive research into the private lives of two very public figures with a compelling scenario: The world’s then-most famous atheist, dying of cancer, needs to understand why a former atheist would convert to Christianity in his middle age — on the very day Great Britain declares war on Nazi Germany,” Chris Robson, the play’s director explained.
The play portrays the discussion surrounding the existence of God that likely would have happened if Freud and Lewis ever met, and although it is set in September of 1939, Robson noted that the topics it addresses are just as relevant today.
Despite the play’s mainly religious theme, it doesn’t take a stance but rather presents both sides equally. The New York Times’ Sylviane Gold wrote that instead of swaying to one side of the argument, the play “is equal opportunity theatre. Atheists need not fear that they will be converted to faith by the warm blandishments of Lewis. And believers will not be tempted to apostasy by the hardheaded arguments of Freud. But everyone, from the God-fearing to the agnostic to the strictly scientific, can be entertained by this well-written clash of wit and egos in Freud’s bookish London study.”
Freud’s Last Session is coming to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on April 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, $20 for youth, and can be purchased at the Centre Box Office, online at www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by calling 604-391-SHOW(7469).