The Two Character Play

Under the disdainful visage of a giant, sword-wielding idol, Felice and Clare play out the tortured struggle of Tennessee Williams over the guilt surrounding the memory of his sister Rose. It is a theme often revisited in Williams' work, and one which he spent at least a dozen years refining in what can be seen as his final statement—The Two Character Play.

Photo of Ed Baierlein as Felice
Ed Baierlein as Felice
Here, Williams elevates this relationship to a metaphor for the theatre itself, allowing Felice to write and direct the play, and perform as one of its characters. In the Germinal Stage Denver's current production, director/actor Ed Baierlein, as Felice, takes to this multi-tasking naturally, spilling the poetic phrasing of Williams' syrupy Southern dialect as if it were his own, barking out stage directions and notes to Clare, controlling the lighting and sound effects, then stepping back to observe the scene and pen a clarifying line or two.

Erica Sarzin-Borrillo as Clare
Erica Sarzin-Borrillo as Clare
Erica Sarzin-Borrillo handles the parallel multi-faceted demands of Clare with equal aplomb—at once an exotic, self-possessed actress, awash in alcohol to cover her insecurities; a prototypical Williams heroine, the songbird imprisoned by fear; and even a confident stage hand, cueing the lighting and sound effects.

In addition to Baierlein's insightful direction and staging, Williams' legendary language, symbolism, and cosmic reverie are tastefully highlighted by a simple, multi-layered set, effective lighting, haunting sound design, and Sally Diamond's evocative costuming.

As much of Williams' later work, The Two Character Play was not appreciated by the critics. Yet at a distance of twenty years since its completion and the playwright's death, it stands as a masterful attempt at reconciling the demons that plagued one of our greatest dramatists. It runs through December 15th. 303-455-7108.

Bob Bows


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