BANGOR — A play questioning faith in God in a world of suffering will open Friday at Bangor’s Union St. Brick Church.
In the late 1960s, Dr. Armand M. Nicholi Jr., a professor of clinical psychology at Harvard, taught a seminar titled “The Question of God.” The course was not so much an answer to the question of God’s existence as a psychological study of two opposing worldviews. The life and writings of the atheist Sigmund Freud contrasted with the life and writings of C.S. Lewis, a Christian convert. Dr. Nicholi examined, without taking sides, which belief system leads to the most wellbeing for the individual.
In 2002, Dr. Nicholi published a book based on his seminar which became in 2004 the PBS program, “The Question of God.’
In June 2009 the play, “Freud’s Last Session,’ premiered. Mark St. Germain created
an imagined meeting between Freud and Lewis. Using the book’s study of the men’s personal and professional lives, St. Germain created the last time Freud would wrestle with his analysis of the psychology of religious belief. On the eve of World War II in 1939, Freud invited C.S. Lewis, who would become the most famous Christian apologist of the 20th century, to his home. Lewis had written a fairly scathing portrait of Freud in his book, “Pilgrim’s Regress,” and he accepted Freud’s invitation — expecting to be met with hostility. Freud may, indeed, have been a bit offended by being described as a “vain, ignorant old man,” but his intent in the meeting was to analyze Lewis’ conversion from avid atheism to a committed belief in the supernatural.
The one-act play moves from humorous and sarcastic theological discussion to painful personal revelations of both men’s struggles and losses — to which of the two will choose hope and life and who will choose to take control of his own death.
After the performance, we hope everyone will stay to share refreshments and a stimulating and fun discussion with Dennis Hamrick as Sigmund Freud, and Dylan Brennan as C.S. Lewis.
The play will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19-20, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Union Street Brick Church, corner of Union and Main Streets in Bangor. The Union Street Brick Church theater group brings the play to Bangor free of charge. For information, call 945-9798 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.