Sunday, 16 December 2012

Pygmalion - Meet the Director

Rehearsals for Pygmalion are going brilliantly, and it's only four weeks now until we're on stage. I've been having a chat with director Alan Wade...
So what's it all about then?
The play is the story of Eliza Doolittle's transformation from common flower girl to a lady, with the help of Henry Higgins, professor of phonetics. This is not Cinderella, and there are many pitfalls along the way. The play takes a wry look at the class system of the time and much of the humour stems from the clash when the two societies meet. Above all this is a very accessible and entertaining play. Just right to cure the post Christmas blues.
We all know the film with Audrey Hepburn… how's the play different?
My Fair Lady is of course a musical, whereas the only music involved in Pygmalion is for opening the scenes and is by Elgar. Although I think the musical is wonderful and it does adapt some of Shaw's lines for the libretto, I think the play allows the cast to explore the characters more deeply and enable the audience to think about the issues involved, while enjoying the comedy.
It was written over a hundred years ago… can people still relate to it?
Absolutely. At the heart of the play is the developing relationship between Eliza and Higgins. Are they pupil and teacher, good friends or a potential partnership. I think anyone can relate to that.
So how are rehearsals going?
Rehearsals are going very well. The cast have been brilliant. We have had an extremely tight rehearsal schedule and they have worked very hard to get the play to performance standard. They have really taken ownership of the characters they are playing. It's wonderful to see how the whole piece has developed.
And finally, why should people come and see it?
Pygmalion is a cracking good story, with brilliantly drawn characters, written with great humour by one of the foremost playwrights using the English language. Need I say more.
Pygmalion will be performed at the University Drama Studio in Sheffield 16th-19th January 2013. Tickets available here.

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