Making his way to a tryst with his “dark lady” near the royal palace the young playwright William Shakespeare encounters a mysterious woman in a cloak. Mistaking her for his lady friend, he accosts her in a familiar fashion, only to discover, to his dismay, that she is in fact the queen. He overcomes his initial discomfort, and takes advantage of the situation to make a petition for royal support to establish a national theatre.
Shaw’s play had two purposes:
• To deflate the reputation of Shakespeare for whom Shaw felt a lifelong rivalry;
• To provide support for a campaign to establish a national theatre in 1916, the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s death.
As with many of his plays, Shaw wrote a lengthy preface, which has been included in this recording.
Preface narrated by Noel Badrian
The Man (William Shakespeare) - Peter Tucker
The lady/Queen Elizabeth - Danielle Cohen
The Dark Lady - Erin Louttit
The Beefeater/Warder - Denis Daly
Stage directions – Noel Badrian
LInk to audio:
In the Greek legend, a sculptor, Pygmalion, created a statue of a woman so beautiful that he fell in love with it. Later the goddess Aphrodite responded to his earnest prayers and brought the statue, named Galatea, to life. Shaw’s Pygmalion is a fussy unmarried professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins, who claims that he could train an uneducated person off the street to speak so that he or she could pass as a member of the aristocracy. His Galatea is Eliza Doolittle, who sells flowers at Covent Garden and whose father is a dissipated but cunning vagrant. Higgins finds Eliza a surprisingly apt pupil, but with her new found skill in elocution comes a streak of independence, which threatens to upset the complacent harmony of his domestic life.
Like many of Shaw’s plays, Pygmalion includes a preface, as well as an afterword in which Shaw relates the further history of Eliza as she learns how to incorporate her training by Higgins into her new lifestyle.
This production includes readings of the preface and the afterword.
Narrator: Grace Garrett
Eliza Dolittle: Arielle Lipshaw
Henry Higgins: Jeff Moon
Colonel Pickering: Denis Daly
Clara Eynsford-Hill: Amanda Friday
Mrs Eynsford-Hill and Mrs Pearce: Sara Morsey
Bystander and Mrs Higgins: Sarah Mitchell
Sarcastic Bystander and Alfred Dolittle: Alan Weyman
Parlour-Maid: Sarah Bacaller
Freddy Eynsford-Hill: Mark Crowle-Groves
Audio edited by Denis Daly
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George Bernard Shaw based his "religious pantomime" Androcles and the Lion on the ancient fable of the runaway slave who pulls a painful thorn from a lion's paw, thereby making a lifelong friend. Shaw explained that his play was in part a reaction to the huge success of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan: "I wrote Androcles to show what a play for children should be like."
This tale of a puny Greek tailor triumphing over the Roman emperor is, as always with Shaw, a commentary on the politics of his time, with the emperor standing in for the British government and, indeed, all repressive regimes.
Androcles and the Lion will delight audiences of all ages by alternating laughter with pathos, philosophy with fun, and satire with sincerity.
Audio edited by John Burlinson
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