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The Two Character Play
BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
DIRECTED BY SAM YATES
“A doctor once told me that we were the bravest people he knew. I said “Why, that’s absurd, my brother and I are terrified of our shadows.”
And he said, “Yes, I know, and that’s why I admire your courage so much…”
Fellow actors, brother and sister Felice and Clare have been on tour too long: every town looks increasingly the same until they feel they could be anywhere… Abandoned by the rest of the acting company, but faced with an audience expecting a performance, they must enact The Two Character Play. But as their gripping ‘play within a play’ unfolds, the line between reality and illusion becomes increasingly unclear; as their characters reach out to the outside world, the actors’ isolation and uncertainty grows…
One of the foremost playwrights of the twentieth-century, Tennessee Williams spent over ten years writing The Two Character Play, an innovative, partly autobiographical work which he called ‘My most beautiful play since Streetcar, the very heart of my life’. It returns to Hampstead Theatre for the first time in over fifty years, having received its World Premiere there in 1967.
Sam Yates makes a highly anticipated return to Hampstead Theatre’s Main Stage following his Olivier-nominated production of The Phlebotomist. His West End credits include Glengarry Glen Ross starring Christian Slater (West End) and The Starry Messenger starring Matthew Broderick.
The Two Character Play is part of Hampstead Theatre’s Classics Season, celebrating 60 years of original theatre with the restaging of four major plays from our archive.
‘Mr Williams succeeds quite brilliantly in sustaining the idea that nothing whatever is to be relied upon, and that if we get through one veil there is another beyond.’ David Wade, The Times, on the original Hampstead Theatre production of The Two Character Play
‘Very brave… A haunting play full of ghosts, memories and outcries’
The New York Times on the original Broadway run
(The Two Character Play is presented by special arrangement with The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee)
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24th April - 23rd May 2020