The Two Character Play gets the context it deserves. | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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The Two Character Play gets the context it deserves.

Tennessee Williams's oft-revised story delivers to arresting effect with Theatre L'Acadie.

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"Having the necessary arrogance to assume that a failed production of a play is not necessarily a failed play, I have prepared this new version for publication and subsequent reappearance on other stages. . . . As for my depression over the failed production, I believe it is temporary,” wrote Tennessee Williams in his foreword to Out Cry, his published revision of The Two Character Play, which opened to critical rejection in London in 1967, wrecked his relationship with his literary agent in Chicago in 1971, and lasted all of ten days on Broadway in 1973. A decade in the drafting and continually revised for years after its premiere, The Two Character Play has never had the context it deserves—until now. Theatre l’Acadie, which declares its mission to focus on the “lesser known” and “rejected” works of Louisiana talents, presents Williams's play (directed by Kaitlin Eve Romero) to arresting effect in a moment defined by claustrophobia, confinement, and mass anxiety about going to the grocery store.

Felice (Daniel Westheimer) and Clare (Emily Daigle) are sibling actors on tour, trapped somewhere between a play that never seems to be fully written and the memory of a shared trauma. The torment of their uncertainty is the main attraction— like Waiting for Godot on the barren waste of a black-box stage, the two bicker and cling, fretting about the dark reality of debts and the darker reality of dreams. Daigle’s performance as a woman on the razor’s edge between ruin and revelation is exceptional.  v

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