"Tennessee Williams has outdone himself." That's hard to fathom. Consider the sexual tension, violence, and denial of A Streetcar Named Desire. Consider the years of family dysfunction and sexual repression in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Consider the violated social and religious taboos in The Night of the Iguana. Now consider The Two-Character Play, which opens with a preview tonight (Wednesday) in the capable directing hands of John Fisher of Theatre Rhinoceros.
Felice and Clare are brother and sister, a playwright and actress on tour. They've been abandoned by their company in an unknown theater. The audience is expecting something, so the siblings make the best of a play by Felice. It's about a brother and sister, who've witnessed their parents' murder-suicide and have lived as recluses since the incident. The play is about their attempt to re-engage with the world -- just walk out their front door -- or kill themselves. As the play-within-a-play develops, it becomes less clear what's real and what's not -- and clearer that Felice and Clare are facing their own demons, and letting them fight.
Critics weren't that nice to Williams when this play debuted, and he revised and even renamed it. Regardless, it remained the playwright's favorite. Theatre Rhino's Fisher has a history of writing and directing works that look demons in the eye, and we can't wait to see what he does with this one.
The Two-Character Play continues through Jan. 15 at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), S.F. Admission is $10-$25.