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BWW Interview: Bringing HOW HE LIED TO HER HUSBAND to the Digital Stage

Washington Stage Guild Presents the Digital Presentation free with donations accepted May 19-23.

BWW Interview: Bringing HOW HE LIED TO HER HUSBAND to the Digital Stage

Streaming for free May 19-23, How He Lied to Her by George Bernard Shaw is presented by the Washington Stage Guild. Set in a London drawing room, the play is a witty look at the love triangle as only Shaw could envision it. The play has often been interpreted as a kind of satirical commentary on Shaw's own highly successful earlier play Candida, which one of the characters gets tickets to see.

We sat down with WSG Artistic Director Bill Largess, Director Morgan Duncan and the three members of the cast - Julie-Ann Elliott, Lawrence Redmond and Jordan Brown - to discuss this little-known piece by Shaw and the process of bringing it to the digital stage.

What has been the most rewarding part of the process?

Julie-Ann: It's been such a solitary year (plus a couple of months) since I was last in a theatre, so to work as a team, with old friends and new connections, to have other people to create with, to laugh with, that was a huge reward.

Jordan: Hitting every beat, syllable, punctuation, joke, and complicated paradigm shift that the madman George Bernard Shaw has created. It's like doing a marathon, or the math portion of the SAT's.

Morgan: The play is just a little bon bon that the playwright put together in 4 days as a favor to a friend, it's very short. Yet, while working on it, we found surprising depth and insight into Mr, Shaw's time...and our own.

What's an unexpected hurdle you've had to overcome in the process?

Julie-Ann: Technology! I had to use a mac for this project, to support certain technical requirements, because my computer would not play nicely, and that threw me for a little loop - I'm a PC gal!

Lawrence: I had some damages in my abode and was in the midst of my repairs. I had a window of opportunity with some workmen that collided with rehearsals and recording. Luckily,with so many wonderful artists in the Washington theatre community able and willing, I was able to get a friend to host me for two days of the rehearsal and recording.

What is your favorite part of the production? What should audiences be getting excited about?

Julie-Ann: I don't have a favorite, the language is fun and the piece flies by - I loved the whole thing! I do think it's exciting to craft characters in a lesser known play by a well known playwright.

Morgan: When one is a fan of a certain artist one is always intrigued to see those little, overlooked, seldom seen works. For Shaw fans, this will be a rare chance to see a performance of this seldom done gem.

Lawrence: The fact that it's a very unknown Shaw piece that riffs and comments on his own work is fun enough for the Shavian devotees in the audience. Secondly, through the miracles of Zoom, the internet, and the largesse of some royalty in the U.K., some audience members will get a special treat from our mutual "virtual background"! (One hint: Dame Maggie Smith could walk into the room, resplendent in purple, at any second!)

Tell me about your character in the show. How do you relate to them?

Julie-Ann: Aurora is not a character that I relate to personally. She's from a different time, a different social plane, with different relationships -- she's very far from who I am, and that is exactly why she is so fun to play!

Lawrence: Teddy Bompas, (yes, that's his name!) is exactly the blowhard boor you'd expect him to be. My kind of fun,over the top, Shavian obstacle that any decent Character Actor loves to play! He's older, like me. He's rich, UN-like me! And he's just obnoxious enough to earn your laughter, but not your disdain. He's the second Shaw character I've ever gotten to play. I can only hope for many more.

Jordan: Sir Henry Apjohn is a man of specificity and tall aspirations. He takes himself very seriously, and I admire that about him.

One final question, this one for WSG's Artistic Director, Bill Largess. Why are you doing this play now?

Bill: Since our founding, the plays of George Bernard Shaw have been a focus, and are hugely popular with our audiences. His canon is much larger than is generally known, and when we can, we try to present his lesser-known works. Since HOW HE LIED TO HER HUSBAND has echoes of CANDIDA, or last fully-produced Shaw play, it seemed like the right time to offer this little comedy to the public. Plus, it's hilarious!

HOW HE LIED TO HER HUSBAND will stream for free on Washington Stage Guild's YouTube page May 19-23rd. For more information, head over to the Washington Stage Guild Website.

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