* * *
Two-character epistolary plays are well suited to the restrictive requirements of Zoom webcasting during the pandemic. Hence I admit to being surprised that it took so long for someone to revive “Dear Liar,” the 1957 play that Jerome Kilty chiseled out of the correspondence of George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the Vicwardian actress who inscribed her name in posterity’s books by creating the role of Eliza Doolittle in Shaw’s “Pygmalion” at the improbable age of 49. Fortunately, Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Playhouse, one of my favorite regional companies, has obliged with a very satisfying benefit reading of “Dear Liar” directed by Mark Brokaw and starring Marsha Mason and Brian Cox.
“Dear Liar” tells the tale of the elaborate, at times elephantine flirtation-on-paper between Mrs. Pat (as she was known) and Shaw, an emotionally stunted husband who developed a near-incapacitating crush on his Eliza but was notorious for talking about love in preference to making it….
Florida Repertory Theatre, which webcast a superior production of Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” back in April, is now streaming a delightful modern-dress version of “Twelfth Night” that is performed on the simplest of sets by six of the company’s non-Equity acting interns. Intended to be performed in local high schools as part of the company’s “Theatre for Young Audiences” program, this hour-long staging, adapted and directed by Bill Kincaid, was taped just before the pandemic shut Florida Rep down….
I can’t imagine a better introduction to Shakespearean comedy for adolescent audiences…
* * *Read the whole thing here.
Mrs. Patrick Campbell talks about “The Art of Acting and Beautiful Speech” in a rare 1929 film clip: