By Terry Trucco
It’s not exactly the comfort of strangers.
Green Eyes, a rarely seen one-act play by Tennessee Williams, dramatizes the nightmarish encounter of the Dunphys, a couple honeymooning in a New Orleans hotel room. Written in 1970 at the height of the Vietnam War – and unpublished until 2008 – the couple’s brutal assignation (he is an impotent vet traumatized by war, she is a ravenous, Williams harridan) translates the horrors of war into a violently deranged lovers quarrel.
The choice of venue is hardly random. With its hotel room backdrop, the 35-minute work blurs the boundaries of performance and installation. The suite holds an audience of 14 people max, guaranteeing an environment as intimate as the subject matter. As for the choice of the Hudson, the Ian Schrager/Philippe Starck millennial creation renowned for stylish but extremely compact rooms, I can’t think of a more cozy/crazy hotel setting this side of New Orleans.
The play, directed by Travis Chamberlain, features New York indie stage actress Erin Markey
(Puppy Love: A Stripper’s Tail) opposite Canadian actor Adam Couperthwaite (No Snakes in this Grass) as Mr. and Mrs Claude Dunphy. Chamberlain, a director and curator (his work has been seen at the New Museum as well as the Public Theater and Lincoln Center’s Fringe series) is also at the helm of a series of companion programs and panel discussions commemorating Williams’ 2011 centenary entitled The Kindness of Strangers: Rethinking Tennessee Williams @ 100 at the Museum of Art and Design. Green Eyes is part of PS 122’s annual COIL winter festival of contemporary performance.
With all that downtown cred, we’re thrilled a midtown hotel, albeit an adventurous one, was chosen for the play. (We can’t quite picture Green Eyes at the Sheridan.)
The play is performed though January 23. Tickets, $30, are available at online at Ovationtix or by phone at 212 352-3101.