Conference on Gender, Law, and the British Novel: Scenes from The Beaux' Stratagem and Mrs Warren's Profession
These scenes from George Bernard Shaw's "Mrs Warren's Profession" and George Farquhar's "The Beaux' Strategem" were part of a conference on Gender, Law, and the British Novel that was held at the University of Chicago Law School on May 14-15, 2010. The conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Gender Studies.
"Mrs Warren's Profession"
George Bernard Shaw: Dean Michael Schill
Mrs Warren: Martha Nussbaum
Vivie Warren, her daughter: Alison Looman
This controversial play, which frankly discusses prostitution as a form of labor and marriage as a middle-class form of prostitution, was banned by the Lord Chamberlain and was performed only in 1902. When it was perfomed in New York in 1905 the entire cast was arrested. Shaw said that he wrote the play “to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together.” Mrs Warren has led a respectable life in England, giving her daughter Vivie a first-class education. Having finished her mathematics degree at Cambridge with great distinction, Vivie wants to go into business as an accountant, but she is urged by everyone around her to marry. In the scene we perform, she decides to confront her mother about her origins and the origins of their money. Mrs Warren describes the circumstances that led her first to go into sex work and then to set up a house of prostitution in Brussels.
Shaw’s Preface to the play became famous later on, and Dean Schill will read a portion of it.
"The Beaux' Strategem," Act 2 Scene 1
Aimwell, a gentleman of broken fortunes: Daniel Abebe
Archer, servant to Aimwell: Douglas Baird
Count Bellaire, a French Office: Guillaume Briant
Mr. Sullen, a country blockhead: M. Todd Henderson
Sir Charles Freeman, a gentleman form London: William Birdthistle
Father Foigard, chaplain to the French officers: Jajah Wu
Scrub, servant to Mr. Sullen: George Desh
Dorinda, daughter of Lady Bountiful: Alison LaCroix
Mrs. Sullen, Dorinda’s sister-in-law and wife to Mr. Sullen: Rosalind Dixon
Gipsy: Arsineh Ananian
Directed by: Arsineh Ananian
Farquhar, an Irishman, is usually considered the last of the Restoration dramatists and a herald of the new sentimental comedy. This play is one of the first to urge divorce on grounds of mutual incompatibility. Aimwell and Archer are involved in a complicated scheme to get hold of Dorinda’s inheritance