Thurs 1st December - Sat 3rd December & Tues 6th December - Sat 10th December 1983
Directed by John Scadding
Are the rich wicked? Are the poor noble? Can religion and capitalism co-exist? 'Major Barbabra' explores these and other moral questions facing a wealthy munitions manufacturer and his salvationist daughter.
'Major Barbara' was written and first produced as a play in 1905. The plot centres around an Officer of The Salvation Army; Major Barbara Undershaft when she becomes disillusioned following her section accepting money from an armaments manufacturer and a whisky distiller. The situation is further complicated when we find out that the arms manufacturer in question is also her father. She eventually decides that bringing a message of salvation to people who have plenty will be more fulfilling and genuine than converting the starving in return for bread.
Although Barbara initially regards the Salvation Army's acceptance of Undershaft's money as hypocrisy, Shaw did not intend that it should be thought so by the audience. Shaw wrote a preface for the play's publication, in which he derided the idea that charities should only take money from "morally pure" sources. He pointed out that donations could always be used for good, whatever their provenance, and he quoted a Salvation Army officer, "they would take money from the devil himself and be only too glad to get it out of his hands and into God's".
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977. The company originally staged this play in 1972 at the original Bench Theatre building in West Street, also under the direction of John Scadding.
On each Saturday of the run, the company also staged two matinee performances of Old King Cole, by Ken Campbell.
|Lady Britomart Undershaft||Penny Cameron|
|Stephen Undershaft||Deamonn Hewett|
|Miss Sarah Undershaft||Jo German|
|Major Barbara Undershaft||Lezley Picton|
|Mr Charles Lomax||David Brown|
|Professor Adolphus Cousins||Chris Hall|
|Mr Andrew Undershaft||Sam Merry|
|Rummy Mitchens||Ruth Prior|
|Snobby Price||Peter Holding|
|Jenny Hill||Helen Arnold|
|Peter Shirley||Derek Cusdin|
|Bill Walker||Bill Radmall|
|Commissioner Baines||Ingrid Corrigan|
|Stage Management||Jane Hope |
|Lighting||John Elkins |
|Set design and construction||Peter Holding |
The trouble with Shaw is not his verbosity but his enormous energy. His plays are packed with it, and if the actors haven't got it then it is a very long evening and if the actors have got it it can still be relentless. So what must be found is Shaw's variety - the wit and the knockabout, the sense of great mystery, the bonds of relationships, the schoolboy exuberance and mostly we must find those moments of heartbreak when people are stopped by absolute loss and then have to start up again. Shaw is the playwright of starting again. He is the writer who shows worms turning. Shaw rings bells and yells "Turn again Whittington" and indeed many of his plays seems to be written for grownup children as terrible fairy tales. 'Peter Pan', Major Barbara', 'The Importance of Being Earnest' are three terrible fairy tales. I hope you enjoy the one this evening.