Compassion and humor intersect with imagination and memory
Spooky Action Theater opens its 2013-2014 Season with Tennessee Williams’ The Two-Character Play, directed by Artistic Director Richard Henrich. Williams called this “my most beautiful play since Streetcar.” The production runs October 3 – October 27.
In The Two-Character Play, veteran Washington actors Lee Mikeska Gardner and David Bryan Jackson portray sister and brother actors stranded in the State Theater of a State unknown. Sibling rivalry, compassion and humor intersect with imagination and memory in a spellbinding, dangerous enterprise. Gardner and Jackson have a wealth of shared experience to draw on. They were a couple for many years, and they are the parents of Max Jackson, who appeared in Spooky Action Theater’s 2012 production of The Water Engine. During their time together, the two collaborated on several plays — producing, co-directing and acting with, or directing each other. According to Jackson, “The Two-Character Play marks the first time in a decade that we have worked together onstage.”
“The Two-Character Play is very different from other Tennessee Williams works, say, Streetcar Named Desire or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” says Henrich. “It is full of dark humor, and the humor brings a wonderful balance to a play that contemplates madness and even death. The play is highly autobiographical. Williams struggled not only with the madness of his sister, Rose, but also with feelings of potential madness in himself.”
Set designer J.D. Madsen has created a set-within-a-set, where a deconstructed southern parlor floats like a dream on the stage of a State Theater that is both cold and fantastical. Brian Allard’slighting heightens the contrast between these two worlds. David Crandall provides sound that swings from the everyday to the surreal. Kimberly Parkman’s costumes evoke both the actors’ past and present lives at once. Deb Crerie has created giant set pieces that answer Williams call for phantasmagoria, while Pallas Bane (props) and Betsy Muller (scenic painting) complete the design team.