|Brad Dourif as Felice and Amanda Plummer as Clare in Tennessee Williams “The Two Character Play” at New World Stages. Photo by Carol Rosegg.|
Is it possible that Tennessee Williams was not the best judge of his own work?
|Photo by Carol Rosegg. Amanda Plummer as Clare and Brad Dourif as Felice in Tennessee Williams’ “The Two Character Play” playing at New World Stages.
“The Two Character Play,” in an open run at New World Stages, for instance, was his favorite, and Williams drew it in comparison to “The Glass Menagerie.” In fact, it is a muddle not unlike “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore,” a play which appeals mostly for its phantasmagorical title.
“The Two Character Play” is confusing and befuddling. It’s a combination of a “let’s put on a show” story and “The Madwoman of Chaillot.” The madwoman here is Clare (Amanda Plummer), Felice’s (Brad Dourif) sister-actor, who unravels rather easily. And makes perfect sense while doing it. Felice, the playwright and stage manager, fusses to make everything perfect for her, for them.
“The Two Character Play” is about two unmoored actors, putting on a play without their company to back and support them. Despite this odd premise, it is a bit funny and not as bleak as it might be. Alas, my personal reaction sounds like this: “Is this brilliant? and I don’t get it. Is this dreadful? and I still don’t get it.”
There are mysteries aplenty in “The Two Character Play,” other than this reviewer’s state of mind, of course. There’s symbolism aplenty too. Revelling in his words is one of the pleasures in witnessing a Tennessee Williams drama. That experience is as true of the lyrical opening of the above-mentioned “The Glass Menagerie” as it is in the lovely narrative of “La Vieux Carre“ The beauty and terror of his language even shines through the film version of “Suddenly Last Summer.”
In “The Two Character Play”Tennessee the poet– and he was definitely that– is at work. Just not his best work, no matter what he had to say about it.
For more information about “The Two Character Play,” please visit http://thetwocharacterplay.com/