Shaw's Last, WHY SHE SOULD NOT, Gets Reading with Five Experiemental Endings, 12/14
It is well known that George Bernard Shaw died before finishing his last play, Why She Would Not. While pruning an apple tree, the 94-year old scribe fell of a ladder, leaving the world with five of six scenes to the piece, never finalized.
The New York Times reports that on December 14, The Gingold Theatrical Group of New York, founded by actor/director David Staller, will present Why She Would Not in a one-night reading with five experimental endings as part of their Monday night Project Shaw series.
Why She Would Not tells the story of a woman who refuses to marry a man who saved her from a robber, and introduces her to wealth and stability. Mr. Staller told his five writers that they could create any ending they wanted but had to use the existing characters and keep it short.
Writes the Times: "For this project Mr. Staller, a self-proclaimed Shaw fanatic, decided to ask the playwright Israel Horovitz and the theater critics Michael Feingold, David Cote, Jeremy McCarter and Robert Simonson to finish the final scene.
The only restrictions on the assignment that the characters had to be consistent and it had to be short.
Says Staller: "Shaw often surmised that he was in such great health that he would only die in an accident," Mr. Staller said. "He was such a rascal and loved being a drama critic. So it made sense to me to have critics with a background in playwriting tackle this. And I've always been fascinated by Israel Horovitz's work."
For the first hour of the reading, the company will present the existing Shaw play with eight actors; for the second half, the same actors will perform the five experimental endings, possibly narrated by each playwright.
To read the full report in the New York Times, click here.
Project Shaw, launched by the theater troupe in January 2006 and has staged all of Shaw's work on 43 Monday nights once a month at The Players Club on Gramercy Park South.
When this undertaking was launched, it quickly attracted the interest of the theatrical world. When the first reading was announced for January of 2006, attracting some of the country's finest and most respected actors including Cherry Jones, Alec Baldwin, RoseMary Harris, Brian Murray, Philip Bosco, Tyne Daly, and Marian Seldes.
Shaw had been a member at the venerable 150-year-old Players Club, the series' home, and had even spoken there. It seemed an appropriate choice for a performance space until we were able to find our own.
The mission of the project is to present every play Shaw ever wrote for the stage. This includes even the sketches, one act plays and political parodies. Shaw believed strongly in each person's need to forge their own individual path in life while actively taking responsibility for their own actions and place in society. Bringing together likeminded colleagues, the company decided to present each of Shaw's plays in concert readings. The goal is to produce two Shaw plays a year, along with one new play.
Shaw was a dedicated Humanist: affirming the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appealing to universal human qualities. In this spirit, the company did not charge admission, as Shaw would have appreciated. They exist through the generous donations of patrons. Beginning in January or 2007 readings are $15. The staff is all volunteer.