two-hander the playwright

gvozd

Senior Member
Hi everyone. It's from an article from BBC (A Point of View: The British and their bizarre view of Americans).

The latter - which, in an act of dramatic tmesis was inserted between the two halves of Dirty Linen - was a brief two-hander the playwright had penned in support of his friend Ed Berman, a theatrical impresario and community activist who, at the time, was having difficulties with his British residency. (Yes, strange to relate, there was a time when Americans were viewed by the Home Office as dangerously radical.)
The boldface part is a total mystery to me, so I won't even try to make suggestions about the meaning. Please help.
 
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with suzi br that a 'two-hander' generally means that the piece is written for two actors, and indeed this is the case with 'New-Found-Land': "The curtain falls and then rises again for New-Found-Land in which an older and a younger man, two other Members of Parliament, briefly discuss the naturalization of an American into British citizenship." (wikipedia).
    Read more here.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    You might find the structure a bit clearer, gvozd, if you insert the optional relative pronoun:

    The latter [...] was a brief two-hander that the playwright had penned in support of his friend Ed Berman
    or
    The latter [...] was a brief two-hander which the playwright had penned in support of his friend Ed Berman
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    So do you have it now? a brief two hander the playwright had penned = a short play for two actors (that) the author had written.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    No need to apologise. Will Self, the author of the above passage, is notorious for writing in a way which is apt to confuse. You can go quite a few weeks without hearing 'tmesis' used in its literal sense, and you can make that years when you consider that he was using it figuratively.
     
    Last edited:

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    No need to apologise. Will Self, the author of the above passage, is notorious for writing in a way which is apt to confuse. You can go quite a few weeks without hearing 'tmesis' used in its literal sense, and you can make that years when consider that he was using it figuratively.
    :D
    Yes, you are far from stupid, gvozd.
    PS
    I had to look up tmesis myself
     
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