Wednesday 8 July 2015

George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion"

"Yes you squashed cabbage leaf, you disgrace to the noble architecture of this culture, you incarnate insult to the English language!  I could pass you off as the Queen of Sheba!" 

Professor of Phonetics, Henry Higgins, meets bedraggled flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who speaks with the signature Cockney accent, dropping her 'h's' and speaking in colloquialisms.  The professor vows to give Eliza speech training in order to pass her off as a duchess at the ambassador's garden party.

Shaw's inspiration for the professor was either Alexander Melville Bell, father of the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Ellis or Henry Sweet.  The two main characters show the great divide between the lower and upper classes in Britain at the time of the play's writing in 1912.  Despite their differences, the professor and his student end up falling in love.

Pygmalion premiere at the Hofburg Theatre in Vienna in 1913 and ran for 118 performances.  In 1956, it was made into the musical My Fair Lady, starring Julie Andrews.  In 1964, My Fair Lady hit the big screen with Audrey Hepburn.

No comments:

Post a Comment