Review: Freud’s Last Session (Mercury Theater)

Published: March 27, 2012
By Clint May / for Chicago Theater Beat

Any debate between a believer and a non-believer (about anything, anywhere, at anytime) is probably going to remain frustratingly agnostic. There’s an evolutionary (already I have to use an incendiary term) reason for this called the ‘argumentative theory of reasoning’ and it does a lot to explain how our culture gets more, not less, polarized as time passes. Like the old fable of the wind vs. the sun, blowing harder only makes people draw their beliefs to themselves ever tighter, sometimes to the point of strangulation. With ever escalating and increasingly absurd arguments being bantered about and toted as fact—remember when Stephen Colbert coined the word ‘truthiness’?—it’s no wonder Mark St. Germain thought it was time to write something that said, “Let’s remember, we’re all still human here no matter which side you’re on.” Freud’s Last Session creates a fiction to bring two paragons of the 20th century together, not as a means of actually answering any of the questions it poses, but as a didactic illustration of the importance of a continuing and civilized debate…

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