Freud’s Last Session: A Theatrical Exploration of Belief and Relationships

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Theatrical Depiction of Freud and Lewis’ Intellectual Encounter

At the Omaha Community Playhouse, actor Bernie Clark embodies the iconic Sigmund Freud, while Nick Zadina portrays novelist C. S. Lewis in “Freud’s Last Session.” This thought-provoking play presents a riveting exploration of the contrasting belief systems of Freud, the staunch atheist, and Lewis, the devout Christian.

A Fictional Conversation and Intellectual Clash

Set on September 3, 1939, shortly before Freud’s suicide, the play delves into the complexities of a hypothetical meeting between these brilliant minds. Throughout the 75-minute performance, the audience witnesses a captivating dialogue that draws inspiration from the writings and ideas of both men.

Prosthetic Challenges and Physical Suffering

Clark’s portrayal of Freud is particularly poignant, as the actor conveys the physical agony endured by the renowned psychologist who had undergone multiple surgeries for oral cancer. The production effectively recreates the discomfort and challenges Freud grappled with, further highlighting the play’s themes of resilience and the human experience.

Exploration of Belief and Relationships

While the play examines the conflicting beliefs of Freud and Lewis, its central focus lies on the intricate dynamics of human relationships. The production explores the tension between divergent perspectives and the potential for understanding and connection amidst differences.

Artistic Influences and Historical Context

Playwright Mark St. Germain skillfully crafted the script, drawing upon the insights of Armand Nicholi Jr.’s Harvard University course on the belief systems of Freud and Lewis. The play provides a glimpse into the intellectual landscape of 1939 and the ongoing debates surrounding faith, science, and human existence.

Bernie Clark: A Journey in Theatre and Education

Bernie Clark’s theatrical career has spanned decades, encompassing performances in Omaha, Chicago, and beyond. Born and raised in Nebraska, Clark graduated from Kearney State College before pursuing a Master’s degree in Theater and Directing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

After teaching at Xavier University in New Orleans and Midland Lutheran College, Clark joined Fremont High School in 1977, where he fostered a thriving theater program for over two decades. His dedication to education and the arts earned him recognition and admiration from students and colleagues alike.

  • Kearney State College graduate
  • Master’s degree in Theater and Directing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Taught at Xavier University in New Orleans and Midland Lutheran College
  • Joined Fremont High School in 1977 as a teacher and drama program director
  • Retired in 2001

A Second Act on the Stage

Following his retirement from teaching, Clark pursued acting opportunities in Chicago, appearing in notable productions at the Bailiwick and other theaters. Despite the challenges of re-entering the acting world later in life, Clark remained dedicated to his craft.


Recent Theatrical Engagements

In recent years, Clark has graced the stage of the Omaha Community Playhouse in various productions, including “The Fantastics,” “Shakespeare in Hollywood,” “Death of a Salesman,” and “Arsenic and Old Lace.” He has also collaborated with Bellevue Little Theatre and SNAP! Productions, showcasing his versatility and passion for the performing arts.

  • “The Fantastics” (Omaha Community Playhouse)
  • “Shakespeare in Hollywood” (Omaha Community Playhouse)
  • “Death of a Salesman” (Omaha Community Playhouse)
  • “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Omaha Community Playhouse)
  • “Defending Marriage” (SNAP! Productions)

Conclusion

Bernie Clark’s latest performance as Freud in “Freud’s Last Session” is a testament to his enduring talent and commitment to the theater arts. Through his portrayal of the iconic psychologist, Clark invites audiences to contemplate the nature of belief and relationships, while his own journey as an actor and educator serves as an inspiration to aspiring artists.

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