Friday, September 28, 2012

Shaw Festival

When Rob and I were in Niagara On the Lake at the beginning of the month, we took advantage of the trip to see a couple of plays.  It was late in the season, so we didn't need reservations and were able to get outstanding seats.

We sat in the front row for Hedda Gabler, an Ibsen masterpiece.  The action was so close I could literally have reached over and touched the actors.  There were times I wanted to do just that, in order to shake some sense into the characters... especially the times when Hedda was exploiting their innocence or goodness.  She was a true Machiavellian princess, a schemer and manipulator. Brilliant, bitter, an unrequited spirit.  Sex, love, money, respect... it seemed like she could quickly identify everyone's deep need and then quickly harness it to gain power over them.  A dangerous talent.  The tragedy was an outstanding production and the intimate venue at the  Courthouse made it feel extremely personal.
A few days later we went to see Misalliance, a comedy written by Shaw.  This was a lighthearted  farce.  Lots of romantic/sexual undertones, with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendos.

Despite the different genres and playwrights, there were some similarities between the two productions.  Idle rich, bored people, dysfunctional families, sexual infidelities, powerful women.

Sadly, neither of the productions seemed to be very convinced the quality of goodness had much hope of long-term survival in the human race.

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