Mrs. Warren's Profession
That George Bernard Shaw is considered by many to be the finest English playwright since Shakespeare must be attributed to three qualities: his formidable language, his wit, and his passion for social justice. Nowhere is this more evident than in Mrs. Warren's Profession, now in production at Germinal Stage Denver.
First produced in 1902, Shaw tackles the then taboo subject of prostitution as a means to discuss the servile status of women. Kitty Warren is a self-made woman who has invested her income wisely and enjoys the good life. When her daughter comes of age, she is forced to come clean over her past.
McPherson Horle (Kitty Warren) exudes strength and sacrifice as she lays bare the slavish conditions of the women's labor market for her scornful daughter. Vanessa Ayan Lunnon (Vivie Warren) shows remarkable self-reliance and thoughtfulness as the idealistic young woman who wishes to terminate both financial and personal ties to her mother and what she stands for. The power of their confrontational scenes is riveting.
Vivie is also equally adept in dealing with her suitors. Jim Miller's youthful dalliances as Frank Gardner are delicious. Director Ed Baierlein, who doubles as the cynical and lusty Sir George Crofts, is the epitome of savior faire as he dangles the promise of riches and early widowhood before the young woman, telling her "If you're going to pick and choose your acquaintances on moral principles, you'd better clear out of this country." Even the offers of Paul Caouette's elderly Praed, who paints an idyllic life of art and travel, wither before Vivie's iron-willed idealism.
Nearly 100 years after it was first performed, Mrs. Warren's Profession still speaks to a world torn between materialism and spiritual principles. It runs at the Germinal Stage Denver through October 7th. 303-455-7108.