Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Theatre, Speech & Dance

Advisor

Laurie J. Wolf

Committee Member

Elizabeth Wiley

Committee Member

Arthur Knight

Abstract

Tennessee Williams called The Two-Character Play his most beautiful play since Streetcar. Yet this play, following a deranged brother and sister as they attempt to perform a play for a hostile audience, has rarely met with success in performance. Early audiences found the play too personal to the playwright. Others were confused as to why the well-established playwright would change his style from poetic realism to the Theatre of the Absurd. Yet surely a play this inventive, emotionally honest, and loved by its playwright deserves its chance. If a production of The Two-Character Play focused on the connection between the characters, Felice and Clare, would it still engage its audience even if they left with unanswered questions? This was the hypothesis with which I approached directing Two-Character for the William & Mary Second Season in the Fall of 2013. I supported my theory with research into Williams' life, his other works, the earlier versions of Two-Character, and the philosophy and plays of the Theatre of the Absurd. I used what I learned to work with the actors to shape a production in which the connection between the siblings was the guiding force. I evaluated the success of my production using a select sample audience.

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