This ain’t My Fair Lady.
The upcoming L.V. Rogers production of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, directed by Grade 12 student Ingrid Love, will stay truer to the playwright’s original intentions than its musical adaptation.
“My Fair Lady is a very Hollywood version, while Pygmalion is a more raw version of the story that doesn’t necessarily have that beautiful ending, but has a very powerful literary conclusion,” Love told the Star.
And it’s a big project for the students, for whom this is an extracurricular endeavour. Together with Sage Cowan, Love has been the force behind mounting this meditation on the class system in turn-of-the-century England.
“We have a 20-person cast, which is a substantial size, and it’s multi-age. Quite often these shows get a little Grade 11 and 12 heavy, but this show really stretches out across the whole school and gets everyone involved, which is nice.”
She’s hoping to drive home the message of the play, which was first performed in Vienna in 1913. According to star Quinn Barron, who plays phonetics professor Henry Higgins, its exploration of class is just as relevant today as it was a century ago.
“These are issues that are still prevalent in today’s society, issues like what it means to be high class or middle class and whether or not these distinctions have value or merit or not,” he said.
“I think George Bernard Shaw went to work on this play to prove class is a silly distinction.”
The premise of the show involves Higgins trying to give a low-class woman named Eliza Doolittle a dramatic makeover, with the aim of passing her off as a duchess by coaching her on how to tweak her dialect. Barron stars with Shanti Harris, who is getting a kick out of bringing Doolittle to life.
“Eliza stays herself though she changes her appearance and voice. She still has her values and character,” Harris said.
“She has to go through this big change so she can be accepted and have this job she wants, but I think it’s cool she refuses to be talked down to by Mr. Higgins.”
And she retains her identity through it all, unlike her character in the My Fair Lady version.
“When you change the ending, you get a little bit of a different story,” said Barron.
The show will be performed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. at L.V. Rogers. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.