ABSTRACT

Present-day directors of Shaw's plays, like Shaw himself, have expressed concern regarding the plays' possible dating, yet are ambivalent at the prospect of modernizing them. This article discusses the potential opportunities and challenges of setting Shaw's plays in the present. Peter Hinton's 2015 Shaw Festival production of Pygmalion serves as a case study, using costume and set design, video, and revised characterizations to reinforce and refocus the play's concern with class hierarchy and upward mobility. Hinton's production offers an example of the ways in which a carefully considered modernization of Shaw's work can not only demonstrate the continuing relevance of the social problems Shaw dramatized, but also illustrate more effectively the role of such problems in shaping individual personalities and relationships.

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