Mother and daughter, equally strong-willed, collide in their differing world views in Victorian England. A classic work by the master of wit and wisdom, and champion of social reform, this play deftly depicts the universal conflict between the generations as well as the mores and morals of society of the period. Written in 1893, this witty and delightfully provocative piece retains its freshness and relevance in today’s world.
This provocative comedy of morals and ideas, set in late Victorian England, is the author’s scathing critique of the restrictions placed upon women by society of the time. It is also a portrayal of generational conflict – a study of two strong women, mother and daughter, each determined to hold to their respective world views and life choices. The story transpires over a weekend during which young Vivie Warren, freshly graduated from Cambridge after a lifetime of boarding schools and only brief family visitations, finally gets to know her mother, Kitty, a woman of questionable reputation who has lavishly financed her daughter’s superior education and place in respectable society. The unfolding action propels the two women into an inevitable confrontation and reckoning with the past, culminating in a climax of shocking and passionate drama.
Regularly at the center of discourse on the moral, economic, and social issues of his day, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) left the world an enormous body of literary work, including sixty-three plays, over a dozen of which are today recognized as classics. A good many of his writings invited controversy, but Mrs. Warren’s Profession provoked more than its fair share of dissension. Written in 1893, the play was immediately banned from public production by Britain ’s Lord Chamberlain on account of its subject matter. Upon premiering on the American stage in 1905 the play was literally halted in mid-performance by New York ’s Police Department, who cited the entire company for disorderly conduct! The first public presentation in London took place in 1925, by which time mores had caught up with thematic content. After wide acceptance as a great work, and many decades of revivals on both sides of the Atlantic, this delightfully witty and biting piece has assumed its rightful position as a tract for all times, retaining its freshness and relevance in today’s world.
by George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Barbara Mills
Feb. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 2013
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