Friday, April 11, 2008

Play of the Week: Dark Lady of the Sonnets

Written as a benefit performance to raise funds for a National Theatre, George Bernard Shaw makes his feelings remarkable clear on what he thinks of the present administration and culture and how theatre needs a larger presence.

As Shaw so often does, the prologue may be better than the play. In this case it is also longer. He discusses the importance of theatre, his views on Shakespeare and coins the term "Bardolater." Indeed, Shaw did not hold a high opinion of the Bard, nor does he portray Shakespeare as the sharpest tack in the box in this play.

Does this play have merit in a performance context? Probably not - while fun to stage, it may be more indulgent as plays about theatre tend to be. However, the overall argument for a national theatre (in any country) is important. Shaw uses his genius for wit and satire to frame the question so that he is not preaching from his pulpit. It's a quick read and I think you will enjoy it.

Happy Birthday: Bill Irwin

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