Wednesday, March 17, 2010


by Bernard Shaw

Thumbs Up.

Since I have recently watched the Lerner and Loewe musical, My Fair Lady, I decided to read the original play upon which it was based. In this writing, I'm assuming that the readers are familiar with the musical and if you are not, well, you'll just have to get the film adaption from the library.

The play is very like the musical; the writers of the musical changed very little. The famous Ascot scene, instead takes place in Mrs. Higgins' sitting room. So there is, therefore, no "cheering on Dover" line. There are a few conversations in the play that do not take place in the musical.

What I found most interesting in reading the play, was the afterword in which Shaw ties up, in narrative style, all the lose ends. My kids have asked whether we're supposed to think Eliza married Higgins at the end. I have told them to use their imagination to come up with the ending they like best. In Pygmalion, Shaw uses reason to determine the actions he finds most consistent with the characters he's created. I won't ruin the ending by going into more detail.

For those who may be curious about the name of the play, Pygmalion is a sculptor from Greek mythology who hated all women except a particular female statue he created. He loved this statue, named Galatea, so much he prayed to Aphrodite to bring her to life. Which Aphrodite did. And so Professor Higgins is Pygmalion to his Galatea, Eliza.

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