Flat Earth Theatre Stages PYGMALION, Now thru 8/30
Exactly one century since its 1914 London premiere, Flat Earth Theatre presents PYGMALION, George Bernard Shaw's classic comedy of manners, newly adapted and directed by local fiction writer and Flat Earth Company Member Devon Jones. This irreverent reimagining of Shaw's time-tested story will run today, August 22nd - 30th, 2014, and will be the third and final production in Flat Earth's 2014 Season, "Literature in Dystopia."
Overseen by a totalitarian police state, the people of London navigate the stations of the century-old Underground. Here, flower seller Eliza Doolittle meets the privileged Henry Higgins, a linguistic mastermind who makes a bet that, through lessons in speech and phonetics, he can pass her off as a duchess in six months. Contrasting cold Edwardian elitism with the vibrant and multicultural London of today, Flat Earth's new adaptation throws Pygmalion's themes of inequality into stark relief - and Eliza and Higgins' struggle between two far apart worlds will bring new meaning to "mind the gap."
"When the parable of Eliza Doolittle is usually put on the stage or screen, we risk staring at the drawing rooms and forgetting what's happening outside on the streets - and beneath them," says director Devon Jones. "This Pygmalion is Shaw's masterpiece stripped to its most vital and timeless bones."
PYGMALION's design team includes fringe theatre favorites Allison Olivia Choat (Set Design), Cara Chiaramonte (Costume Design), Chris Bocchiaro (Lighting Design), and Kyle Lampe (Sound Design). The Producer is Coriana Hunt Swartz, and the Stage Manager is Caitlin Mason. The cast features Jaclyn Johnson as Eliza Doolittle and Chris Chiampa as Henry Higgins, with Tom Beyer, J. Deschene, Allison Olivia Choat, Allison Matteodo, Stephen Turner, Katie Bond, Stewart Holmes, Lucas Commons-Miller, and Saleia Arkeish.
PYGMALION will run for two weeks at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street in Watertown, MA. Tickets can be purchased at https://flatearth.ticketleap.com/pygmalion for $20 in advance, $25 at the door, or $10 student rush.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish playwright, essayist, journalist, and fiction writer. Born in Dublin, he moved to London at age twenty and began to write, eventually becoming an established art critic. A member of the socialist Fabian Society, in 1898 he married fellow activist Charlotte Payne-Townshend, and within the next several years his plays began to earn him the reputation of a leading dramatist of his time, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. Although he wrote over sixty plays, Pygmalion has remained his most prominent, recognized frequently today as the source material for the musical My Fair Lady. In addition to his literary output, Shaw also founded the London School of Economics and the New Statesman magazine. As a household name, he was no stranger to controversy for his far left politics, his atheism, or his ambiguous advocacy of eugenics. He is also known for his invention of the Shavian alphabet, developed to address the complexities of English spelling.
Director Devon Jones has been with Flat Earth since 2012, training for scattered years beforehand as a theatrical jack of all trades. In 2009 he obtained his B.A. from Bard College in Philosophy & Linguistics, which may explain why Pygmalion is so dear to him. This will be his first Flat Earth directing credit; prior directing experience includes The Importance of Being Earnest and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Outside of theatre, Devon is a fiction writer, poet, philosopher, activist, linguist, and multimedia artist. His debut novel Tiresias, published in 2013, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist for Transgender Fiction. He lives in Boston with husband (and fellow Flat Earthling) Stewart Holmes, plus three cats.
Flat Earth Theatre has been collaboratively crafting thought-provoking theatre in greater Boston since 2006. Featured productions include the world premier of Pirate Lives! The Musical!, the award-winning staging of The Pillowman with the IRNE-nominated shadow puppetry of Woellert&Clark, and last summer's dimension-traveling production of Rocket Man. Pygmalion concludes Flat Earth's 2014 season "Literature in Dystopia," which also included Ann Marie Healy's What Once We Felt and Ariel Dorfman's Reader.
Photo by Jake Scaltreto