George Bernard Shaw
Courtesy photo
George Bernard Shaw

ATP presents staged reading of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘The Misalliance’

WEST CHESTERFIELD, N.H. — A staged reading of George Bernard Shaw's The Misalliance will be presented at the Actors Theatre Playhouse for performances on two Saturdays, Aug. 5 and 12. Both performances begin promptly at 7:30.

(1)The Misalliance is a play written in 1909–1910 by George Bernard Shaw. The play takes place entirely on a single Saturday afternoon in the conservatory of a large country house in Hindhead, Surrey, in Edwardian era England.

The action follows Hypatia - the daughter of a self-made underwear mogul. She's a "new woman"; bored with the stuffy attitudes of the aristocracy and anxious to shape her world.

Shaw lets the audience know that fast-paced modernity is on a collision course with the stodgy status quo when (2)an airplane crashes through the conservatory, bringing two unexpected guests.

One is a handsome young man who immediately arouses Hypatia's hunting instinct. The other is a female daredevil of a circus acrobat whose vitality and directness inflame all the other men at the house party.

It turns out that it is customary for her to rouse men wherever she goes, and in the second act, she makes a note of having received her 58th proposal.

This romantic comedy reverses the traditional roles in courtship - in Misalliance women are the ardent hunters and men, their hapless prey.

Shaw's Misalliance is an ironic debate about marriage, "The New Woman," and the distance that exists between parent and child. (3)All told there are eight marriage proposals offered for consideration in the course of one summer afternoon.

The question of whether any one of these combinations of marriage might be an auspicious alliance, or a misalliance, prompts one of the prospective husbands to make the famous Shavian speculation that has shocked many theater-goers: "If marriages were made by putting all the men's names into one sack and the women's names into another, and having them taken out by a blindfolded child like lottery numbers, there would be just as high a percentage of happy marriages as we have now."

In the cast are Phil Kramer, Roberta Barnes, Bob Gruen, Heidi Schwieger, Ian Hefele, Damien Licata, Michael Auerbach, Charlotte Traas, and Harral Hamilton. Sam Pilo directs.

The Actors Theatre Playhouse is located at the corner of Brook and Main streets in West Chesterfield. All tickets are $17 for general seating and can be reserved at

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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