nytheatre.com review by Joanne Joseph
Josh Hecht, the director, greets the
audience and explains that Two, a play about a couple in the
thrall of fighting, struggling to either make amends or walk away, is
triple-cast. At the opening performance, two women, Catherine Glenn and
Diana Windorst, were the couple, one cold, hard and angry, the other
soft, vulnerable and angry. Hecht tells us to keep our ticket stubs,
come back and see the second cast at half price, and if we really
persevere and come to the third cast performance, we can get in for
free. The other casts provide the other two alternatives—a heterosexual
and gay male couple. Cast B is Patrick Darragh and Diana Windorst, and
Cast C is Spencer Aste and Patrick Darragh. It would be of interest to
see how the changes are wrung by all versions of the couple. It struck
me that the company could do one performance of the script abbreviated,
go three rounds with it, and the comparison could be viewed all in one
August 15, 2002
My companion and I were first impressed that this appeared to be a Beckett update. The two do not look at each other; they murmur, mumble, and vocally gyrate their grievances and fumings. Both are struggling to overcome the silences that have fallen between them. At one point, one puts on her coat and almost leaves, a logical move—but no, this is only one of a seemingly endless yes-no go-round. Dialogue reverts to the couple's past, and dramatic movement bogs down a bit. My companion was nodding, but the audience was glued to every murmur and shift.
The set, by Andromache Chalfant, is wonderfully evocative, with two tall thin white, somewhat abstract straight chairs, a white window frame, a white rug for curling up on, a white spindle for an LP to play on ("Pachelbel's Canon"), a white mirror at an odd angle, and a white book case, all etched brightly and airily within the black box.
The actors, barefoot, in jeans and jerseys, wrung every emotion every possible way. It's up to the watchers to decide how deeply they are drawn to and sympathize with these two confused and mercurial characters. Hecht urges the audience at the opening to come close and fill up the front rows, because the play is so intimate. Physical proximity can help, and perhaps as the run progresses the convictions of the actors will ease into greater depths.