By Daniel Gewertz
Night of the Iguana – Written by Tennessee Williams; Directed by Michael Wilson; Scenic Design by Derek McLane; Costume Design by Catherine Zuber: Lighting Design by David Lander; Sound Design by John Gromada. Presented by The American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge through March 18.
“The Night of the Iguana” doesn’t get produced as frequently as the other half-dozen of Tennessee Williams’ essential plays. That’s not just because it didn’t win as many awards or sell as many tickets as “Glass Menagerie” or “Streetcar” or “Cat.” It is also among the playwright’s most difficult to pull off. Like Williams’ other major works, “Iguana” possesses a brilliant balance of dueling forces: each character represents a crucial human trait, or, in the more complex characters, a troublesome clash of traits, and their battle is metaphoric and philosophic as well as psychological. The character of Shannon, the dissolute, sinful, regretful ex-pastor, plays a more dominant part in this drama than the leading men do in most other major works of the Williams’ canon. (This dominance has less to do with the number of lines as to the fact that in “Iguana,” Shannon’s female counterweight is portrayed by two characters, the lusty Maxine and the spiritual Hannah.)