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Webcasts of the plays of George Bernard Shaw have been scarce during the pandemic. It’s a shame, for Shaw’s plays are for the most part comedies of ideas, political and otherwise, whose crackling verbal virtuosity makes them suitable fare for home viewers in search of thought-provoking diversion. The problem is that they also tend to be lengthy, at times long-winded, and call for fairly large casts, making them commensurately harder to produce online.
But Shaw also wrote several small-scale curtain-raisers and theatrical skits, three of which have been bundled by Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, one of the very best classical companies on the East Coast, into a two-hour triple bill called “Shaw! Shaw! Shaw!” …
Bonnie J. Monte, the company’s producing artistic director, staged “Shaw! Shaw! Shaw!” and was eager for it to be seen by a larger audience. To that end, she has just launched what she calls “Pandemic Playhouse Entertainment,” a venture that she describes on STNJ’s website as having been “partly inspired by the television shows ‘Playhouse 90,’ ‘Philco Playhouse,’ and ‘Masterpiece Playhouse,’” the great live-TV anthology series of the ’50s and ’60s….
The results, taped on the company’s main stage, feature simple costumes and scenery, both designed by Ms. Monte herself—she is also responsible for the outstanding sound design—and can be viewed with equal pleasure on your home TV or laptop. Either way, they look and sound as fine as STNJ’s consistently impressive track record would lead you to expect….
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The trailer for “Shaw! Shaw! Shaw!”: