David Williamson has gone for clever comedy, with a touch of the macabre, for his latest play, CRUISE CONTROL. Australia’s premiere playwright draws on a cauldron style scenario: Throw a group of very different people together, have it so that they can’t get away from each other, and then see how things play out.
The hothouse environment is on the cruise ship, Queen Mary 11, which is doing a seven night crossing from London to New York. Three very different couples come together each night in the main dining room and become increasingly entangled with each other. There are plenty of surprises in store for audiences with an intricately woven plot.
Andy Warhol famously pushed the envelope and his audience’s attention way too far when he made his 1963 film SLEEP which mercilessly showed a man sleeping for five hours not stop. Perhaps Warhol’s goal was to make the most boring movie ever made?! God only knows……
When the film MY DINNER WITH ANDRE was released in 1981 it sounded like co-creators Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn were trying to compete in the boredom stakes with the original Campbell Soup man. The film, with a running time of just under two hours, screened a dinner between the two thespians at a sophisticated New York restaurant, from entrée to port…
Amazingly the film, directed by legendary French film auteur Louise Malle, turned out to be far from uninteresting and went on to achieve cult status. Whole worlds seemed to open up as the two men put everything on the table,- their life experiences, how they perceived them, and saw one another’s. The trysts between them added that extra element, it was exhilarating watching the two very different personalities sparring,- Andre the dreamer, the visionary…..Wallace,- staid, pragmatic, urbane.
Mark St Germain’s FREUD ‘S LAST SESSION offers a very similar experience. The play documents a (fictional) meeting that takes place between Sigmund Freud and Professor C.S. Lewis at the legendary psychoanalyst’s home. Likewise, the two men put everything on the table,- their views on sex, love, God, the meaning of life… their clashes are passionate, intense, fiery…
St Germain raises the stakes by having the meeting between two of the greatest minds of the Twentieth Century take place on the day that England enters the Second World War.
Adam Cook’s production serves St Germain’s play well. Henri Szeps and Douglas Hansell are convincing in their portrayals of these two iconic figures. Mark Thomson’s set and costume design and Gavan Swift’s lighting design create the world of the late nineteen thirties well.
The examined life is worth living, especially when seen through the eyes of two of the world’s liveliest minds.
A co-production by Strange Duck Productions and Liberman Partnership, FREUD’S LAST SESSION is currently playing Sydney’s Theatre Royal.
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