Green Eyes with Adam and Eve on a Ferryby Tennessee Williams
directed by Jef Hall-Flavin
starring Jaimi Paige, Mike Rasmussen, Brenda Curran, and Robertson Dean
Provincetown Tennessee WIlliams Theater FestivalWorld Premiere
Green Eyes – “the kinkiest play ever wrote”
For D.H. Lawrence, the author of Lady Chatterly’s Lover, sexual frustration was the modern malady, and sex —via nature and the primitive subconscious—was the cure. So strong was his feeling for Lawrence that I Rise in Flame Cried the Phoenix and Adam and Eve on a Ferry — each play part tribute to Lawrence and part affirmation of the freedom Williams cherished in Lawrence’s philosophy.co-authored, along with Donald Windham, a stage adaptation of Lawrence’s short story “You Touched Me!” Williams also wrote two one-act plays about Lawrence:
In Adam and Eve on a Ferry (1939) Williams casts Lawrence as a charming bully in a comedy of sexual liberation, giving him what appears at times to be almost psychic powers of understanding and infl uence over a young woman who has traveled to where Lawrence was convalescing in the Alpes-Maritimes near the end of his life. While desire and sexuality are major concerns in much of Williams’ writing, sexual acts in and of themselves are usually not, and still sex fl ashes like an electric current from each of his plays to the next. It’s hard to name a Williams’ play in which sex is not a motivating factor or a means by which characters connect. One of the ironies of Williams’ recurring theme of isolation -- the failure of humans to really know and understand one another -- is that they often come to their closest emotional connections through sexual encounters.
In the thirty years that followed Adam and Eve on a Ferry, Williams became known for pushing every kind of sexual boundary on the stage, and usually doing it fi rst. By the time Williams wrote Green Eyes, or No Sight Would Be Worth Seeing (1970), the sexual revolution was in full swing, America was experiencing its greatest turmoil since the Civil War, and Williams had hit bottom in his private life. It is interesting not only that he completed this short play in which rough sex teeters on a thin edge with spiritual awakening, but that Williams’ agent Audrey Wood submitted it for publication. In Green Eyes the sexual act, in and of itself, is important, and its voltage is passed from character to character. Other one-act plays by Williams explore questions of sex and power, but in Green Eyes Williams raised the stakes and the intensity, fusing anger, fear, and desire into a communion of complete emotional exposure.