Hampstead Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for Tennessee Williams’ innovative, and partly autobiographical work, The Two Character Play. Acclaimed stage and screen actors, David Dawson and Lyndsey Marshal, will perform in this unique two-hander which Williams called ‘My most beautiful play since Streetcar, the very heart of my life’. The production, directed by award-winning theatre and film artist, Sam Yates, will run from 24 April until 23 May 2020.
David Dawson is an acclaimed stage and screen actor. Recent television credits include playing Joseph Merrick (as The Elephant Man) in Channel 4’s Year of the Rabbit (2019) and starring in BBC espionage drama The Secret Agent alongside Toby Jones, Vicky McClure and Stephen Graham. Recent theatre credits include Fairview at the Young Vic and Casimir in Brian Friel’s Aristocrats at Donmar Warehouse.
Dawson will be joined by Lyndsey Marshal, best known for her performance in the psychological film The Hours, alongside Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore, and for her recurring roles in HBO’s Rome (as Cleopatra) and BBC period legal drama Garrow’s Law (as Lady Sarah Hill). Recent screen credits include Mike Barnett’s ITV drama Trauma and the BBC’s New Year hit Dracula by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. She was nominated for an Olivier and Evening Standard Award for her role in Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Boston Marriage at the Donmar Warehouse. Recent theatre credits include The Wild Duck; The Hypochondriac and Blood Wedding at the Almeida Theatre.
Sam Yates is making a highly anticipated return to Hampstead Theatre following his Olivier-nominated and critically acclaimed production of The Phlebotomist (2018, 2019). Recent credits include Incantata by Paul Muldoon, currently playing at the Irish Repertory Theatre (New York), Glengarry Glen Ross starring Christian Slater and The Starry Messenger starring Matthew Broderick and Elizabeth McGovern (London’s West End). He will be joined by designer, Rosanna Vize with lighting by Elliot Griggs, sound design by Dan Balfour and video design by Akhila Krishnan.
Tennessee Williams, one of the foremost playwrights of the twentieth-century, spent over ten years writing The Two Character Play. It was originally directed by Hampstead Theatre’s founding Artistic Director James Roose Evans and received its world premiere at Hampstead in 1967.
Fellow actors, brother and sister Felice and Clare have been on tour too long: every town looks increasingly the same until they feel they could be anywhere… Abandoned by the rest of the acting company, but faced with an audience expecting a performance, they must enact The Two Character Play. But as their gripping ‘play within a play’ unfolds, the line between reality and illusion becomes increasingly unclear; as their characters reach out to the outside world, the actors’ isolation and uncertainty grows…
Sam Yates, Director of The Two Character Play said: “I am honoured to bring together for the first time two of our finest actors, Lyndsey Marshal and David Dawson, to play brother and sister in Tennessee Williams’ daring experiment in form. I’m particularly excited to return to Hampstead with designer Rosanna Vize and an ambitious creative team.”
Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre, said, “The Two Character Play is one of Hampstead Theatre’s gems. Tennessee Williams was at the height of his career when he chose to offer the world premiere of this very personal play to the old theatre – a temporary pre-fab. This speaks volumes of Hampstead’s standing as an artistic space under its founder James Roose Evans. I look forward to sharing this unique play, by one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century with our audiences, revived by a wonderful group of artists.”
The Two Character Play is part of Hampstead Classics, the theatre’s spring/summer programme to mark its 60th anniversary and celebrate its ambitious history as a new writing theatre. Featuring four bold plays which all premiered at the theatre, the productions will be performed in chronological order and staged in the thrust, by a variety of distinctive British directors.
Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter will open Hampstead Classics with Alice Hamilton directing this 60th anniversary production. Philip Jackson and Harry Lloyd will star in this timeless black comedy from 19 March until 18 April. Sam Yates will make a highly anticipated return to Hampstead Theatre with Tennessee Williams’ The Two Character Play from 24 April until 23 May; founder and former Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company Dawn Walton will direct Alfred
Fagon’s remarkable tribute to the culture of London’s King’s Road in the 1970s, The Death of a Black Man running from 28 May until 27 June; and Roxana Silbert, Hampstead Theatre’s Artistic Director, will direct Marsha Norman’s ground-breaking ‘night, Mother running from 2 July until 1 August.
The Haystack is currently playing on the Main Stage at Hampstead Theatre. Roxana Silbert’s critically acclaimed directing debut as Hampstead Theatre’s Artistic Director has been extended until 12 March. The Haystack, a fast-paced, topical play, which delves into the intriguing world of GCHQ and examines the human impact of national surveillance, is Al Blyth’s first full-length play.
The Two Character Play runs at the Hampstead Theatre from 24 April – 23 May 2020.