The Two Character Play
Fiction by Tennessee Williams
Reality and fantasy are interwoven with terrifying power as two actors on tour––brother and sister––find themselves deserted by the troupe in a decrepit “state theatre in an unknown state.” Faced (perhaps) by an audience expecting a performance, they enact “The Two-Character Play”––an illusion within an illusion, an “out cry” from isolation, panic, and fear. “I think it is my most beautiful play since Streetcar,” Tennessee Williams said, “and I’ve never stopped working on it… It is a cri de coeur, but then all creative work, all life, in a sense is a cri de coeur.” In the course of its evolution, several earlier versions of The Two-Character Play have been produced. The first of them was presented in 1967 in London and Chicago and brought out in 1969 by New Directions in a signed limited edition. The next, staged in 1973 in New York under the title Out Cry, was published by New Directions in 1973. The third version (New York 1975), again titled The Two-Character Play, is the one Tennessee Williams wished to include in Volume V of The Theatre of Tennessee Williams. It is this most recent version which is presented in this ND Paperbook.