Monday, October 19, 2009

Back on the List

by George Bernard Shaw (1912; 1938)

I'm just looking at the reason for the disparity of the dates and am finding this. It was written in 1912, but the version that is printed for reading consumption is dated 1938 and is based on Shaw's screen adaptation. Yes, apparently Shaw was around for movies - blew my mind, too. But the most interesting note, to me, was, "First presented in German at the Hofburg Theater, Vienna, on 16 October 1913." That is, it was presented in German before it was presented in English (in London).
What the?!
A play about the class differences in England as manifested in the country's spoken language was first presented in German. Heh. Luckily, the Germans have class differences manifested in their language as well. Unlike, according to one of the letters that appear as bonus materials, the Swedish, who have nothing (okay, not nothing: less) at home to relate the premise to.
I won't retell the plot because I have the feeling you've seen or heard of My Fair Lady, which is Lerner's (and Lowe's) adaptation of Shaw's play.
Interesting is the epilogue that Shaw added, to make sure that the reader knows he is serious about having Eliza marry Freddy and not Higgins. Shaw figured everyone would get along best if they didn't jump over into the romantic side of things, something Higgins with his mother fixation probably couldn't have done, anyway.

Fun read, by the way, except for the last scene in which Eliza and Higgins have it out. That was a bit too much explanation, I think.