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What happens when two of the sharpest minds of the 19th and 20th centuries - Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis - talk about God, life and death?

What should audience members expect of "Freud's Last Session," opening at the Front Porch Theatre at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts Oct. 6? Matt Lutz, the theater's artistic director who plays Lewis, and Callan White, the play's director, sat down to answer some questions about the show and their artistic process (Kelley Hinman plays Freud). 

Question:The play is about a meeting between C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. Did this really happen? 

Lutz:  Well, not technically, no.  We do know that Freud and Lewis were familiar with one another's work, but we have no historical evidence that shows they ever met in person.  But, oh, if they had!

What are the different points of view the men take? 

White: Well, they obviously take the positions that we would expect them to take. You know, Freud is a well-known atheist and Lewis a well-known man of faith. But they don't come at each with vitriol. They seem interested in having a respectful, informed conversation. As their debate develops, however, the drama certainly develops along with it as well.

Do they display any flexibility in their beliefs?

Lutz:  Oh, absolutely. There are definitely moments in the play when one of them says, "You might have a point," or "I don't have an answer for that."

What would you like the audience to leave feeling? 

Lutz: As artistic director of the Front Porch Theatre, I selected this play for a number of reasons. I am struck by the example of these two men. Freud and Lewis have diametrically opposed worldviews, and yet, ultimately, they are able to have a conversation with one another that is substantive, frank, even at times brutal. But it's always respectful. These men may have opposite viewpoints, but they like each other.

And that encourages me. We seem to live in a time where, if you have a different viewpoint, you're an enemy. You're someone to either be swayed, or feared, or shunned. And these two "luminaries" show that that isn't necessary, and certainly not beneficial. I want our audiences to leave being struck by that as much as I am.

What will happen during the post-show discussion sessions?

Lutz:  Well, we're thrilled to offer "talkbacks" after our Sunday matinee performances.  We have invited two of our own local academic luminaries to field questions, alongside actors from the show.  Don King is a professor of English at Montreat College, and a world-renowned C.S. Lewis expert. And Brad Faircloth is a professor of psychology, also at Montreat.  We're hopeful that much of the discussion that happens onstage in the play can move into our own world with these talkbacks.  So come prepared with your own thoughts, and questions to ask.

For tickets or more information call 828-669-0930 or visit blackmountainarts.org.

Clash of the Titans

What: "Freud’s Last Session"

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6-7 and 13-14, 2 p.m. Oct. 8 and 15

Where: Black Mountain Center for the Arts

Cost: $20

 

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