GETTING MARRIED By George Bernard Shaw

Imagine a play where five women and seven men discuss marriage for a couple of hours. Sounds dull, right? Well, if you’re George Bernard Shaw, you turn the subject of marriage and divorce into comedy gold. And, this play first opened in 1908! The reasons to get married, to stay married, and when to leave a marriage haven’t changed much in a century. Of course, British law at that time harshly stripped women of most of their rights (including financial) when they entered into a marriage and provided many impediments to leaving a dysfunctional relationship. British law became more fair in 1969, but women still struggle for equal rights with men just as American women do.

I enjoyed the spirited (and funny) debates among the characters. My favorite is Lesbia Grantham who turns down many marriage proposals from General Bridgenorth because she refuses to give up her rights and freedom to a marriage. “Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo.” The “cage” of course is marriage. The sold-out crowd at The Shaw Festival laughed at the one-liners and the slapstick comedic antics of the characters. But, beneath the humor, Shaw exposes the flaws of all long-term relationships. Brilliant! Do you have a favorite Shaw play? GRADE: A

5 thoughts on “GETTING MARRIED By George Bernard Shaw

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    “Lesbia”? No wonder she didn’t want to get married!

    We’ve never seen this one among the many Shaw plays we have seen (some several times). Favorites would have to include Pygmalion, The Devil’s Disciple, maybe Major Barbara and Heartbreak House (all of which we’ve seen more than once).

    Others we’ve seen on stage: Captain Brassbound’s Conversion (with Rex Harrison, in 1972 or so; we also saw Harrison in Heartbreak House), Mrs. Warren’s Profession (most recently with Cherry Jones, most bizarrely with Ruth Gordon and Lynn Redgrave), Candida (in the early ’70s with Deborah Kerr; most recently in Niagara-on-the-Lake), Man and Superman, Saint Joan (also Lynn Redgrave, among others), and You Never Can Tell (with Philip Bosco, who was nominated for a Tony, as he also was in Major Barbara and Heartbreak House, as mentioned above).

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, you qualify as a Shaw expert! We’ve seen several Shaw plays at the Shaw Festival. Last year we saw SAINT JOAN. GETTING MARRIED ranks right up there.

  2. Cap'n Bob

    “…but women still struggle for equal rights with men just as American women do.”

    Hardy har har! Ask nearly any divorced man about this! Ask Lee Marvin!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *