Two by Jim Cartwright
The play “Two” takes place in a pub which is set in North England. The pub is owned by a bickering husband and wife who are essentially the main characters, because they remain throughout the play. The play has fourteen characters in total played by just “Two” actors. The play is about a night in the pub, the different customers and the fragile relationship between the Landlord and Landlady. Throughout the play the audience is highly evolved, and see’s a range of different characters which change the pacing of the play to a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows.
The entire play is set up for the ending which the landlord and landlady reveal their dark unspoken tragedy. The play is centred on couple’s relationships. The Landlord and landlady open the play be taking orders of the audience and serving them, straight away evolving them and setting them up for the rest of the play. Throughout the orders the audience get to see the underlining of the couple’s relationship, they show this through their bickering between one and other. The landlord uses direct audience address in performing his monolog which tells the background of their relationship and how he sees the pub.
He uses lots of imagery and personification throughout the monolog. The Old Woman character also uses direct audience address, she tells us about her day to day life and how she loves her husband. Slowly through her performance we see deeper into her character and the darker side to their relationship between her and her husband. Moth opens his monolog by chatting up someone in the audience; he straight away changes the pace of the play and is focused on him. He uses lots of repetition and can see that he does this a lot.
He then has a short episode with Maudie in which the audience can see her is using her yet still a lovable character. The Landlady then tells her take on Maudie and Moth, about her relationship with the landlord and how she sees the pub as more social experience than a business. She also says this all to the audience breaking the pace and atmosphere seeing as they just watched a performance now it’s back on them. The Old man then again slows the pace down to his level and tells the audience how he loves his wife dearly and his light hearted approach that one day he will die and be with her again.
Mrs Iger tells the audience of how she loves big men in a dream like monolog. She describes everything she loves about them and then the audience find out she is married to a very small man. Mr Iger is a small cowardly man and is constantly pushed by Mrs Iger because of it. Throughout his scenes he is trying to get drinks but cannot because of his lack of height and courage until he finally flips and can’t take it anymore, gets some drinks and Mrs Iger is not happy, when she sees how she angered him she takes it all back and shows her love for him.
Smelly Jimmy is a strange character; he has no dialog yet makes a strong impact on the Landlord and Landlady, leaving the audience on a cliff hanging wondering what he said. The Landlord then informs the audience that time has passed and that he cares dearly about the profits of the pub unlike his wife. Roy is an abuse husband and Lesley his terrified wife, their scene is more about how dominant Roy is over a Lesley and how he treats and tries to control her. Lesley is too terrified to do anything, even reply to his questions in fear of what he might interpret them to.
She finally cracks under his pressure and tries to leave, only coming back for the door keys; he apologises then hits her for showing him up. The Landlord then again shows the passing of time. He also if deciding if he should have a drink fighting between his love for profits and maybe fear of he might not stop. He then sees how the landlady helps herself to three drinks, they then argue about her drinking problem and his profits. The audience get to see what’s left of their relationship and how they instead of mild bicker, it has turned into something much more real.
Fred and Alice is a boring couple. They talk about Elvis and a extra in a film, they in turn are the extra’s in life because no-one really pays attention to them but they just get along with each other, the “Two” of them. Landlord yet again moves the play on to the end of the night. Also speaking to the audience re-engaging them in the play again. The mysterious Woman speaks to the audience about a man who she had an affair with her and she is in the pub because she loves him and wants him to leave his wife for her.
The audience don’t know who she had the affair with but normally presume it with the Landlord. Only to realise that it is not and she missed her chance with him. The Boy triggers the end scene between the Landlord and Landlady. His father has left him in the pub and the Landlady tries to help him out. The child’s father comes back and the Landlady lets him go reluctantly showing the audience that there is she loves about the boy or about children.
The row between landlord and landlady shows the two characters raw feelings about each other and how they never talked about the death of their son. The Landlady believes the Landlord blames her for the death because he closed off and didn’t want to talk about it. Throughout the row the Landlord tries to still no talk and clean the bar while the Landlady frantically wants to talk about the passing to get it all out. Finally the landlord comes round and lets out his feelings about the death and they are finally free of the tension and pain built up inside them and between their relationships.