The Two-Character Play
Good luck trying to make sense out of — or even sit through — all two hours of Tennessee Williams’ rarely seen “The Two-Character Play,” which is now receiving an Off-Broadway revival with Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif.
“The Two-Character Play” is essentially a revised version of Wil
liams’ “Out Cry,” which ran just over a week on Broadway in 1973. It marked an attempt by Williams to experiment with the challenging styles of avant-garde dramatists that had come into vogue.
Somewhat inspired by Williams’ own relationship with his sister, who was lobotomized and confined to an institution, the play concerns Felice and Clare, strange siblings who find themselves deserted by their acting company and stranded in an empty theater.
Out of concern that an audience will expect a show, they enact a drama which seems to reflect their situation. It’s difficult to tell when the play- within-the-play is being performed as opposed to its outer framework.
“The Two-Character Play” is a dreary, incomprehensible work that lacks the drama of Williams’ earlier material and feels like an attempt to imitate Beckett, Pinter and Pirandello.
To their credit, Plummer and Dourif come off as genuinely creepy. However, the production itself is not strong enough to make attending this frustrating, static drama worthwhile.
If you go
“The Two-Character Play” plays through Sept. 1 at New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.