.B.S. AND THE LUNATIC by Lawrence angner


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hen Bernard Shaw during the '30's stopped off at Hollywood, it was said producers en masse begged for his plays; Shaw, the famed Fabian Socialist, anti-capitalist then quipped; ""No, you are concerned with Art; I am concerned with money"". Such a self-publicizing, self-contradictory stance- at times twinklingly assumed, at others testily adhered to- seems to sum up pretty well the portrait-in-the-round drawn of him here by the late founder of the Theatre Guild, Lawrence Langner. Unlike most theatrical total recalls the Langner memorabilia offers a series of back-stage sketches of an always on-stage personality. Though more adulatory than analytical, he still manages many wise, waspish comments about, among other things, business deals, personal encounters, correspondence (Shaw's cranky, candid assessments of actresses, critics, royalties); and the plays themselves. That Shaw's so self-celebrated rationality was often as silly as it was sparkling rarely escapes the observance of Langer, whom Shaw dubbed, ironically enough, ""the Lunatic"". Even so, enough of Shaw's gallantry (especially with Mrs. Shaw) and genius also is about; the result: the Grand Old Man's legend not destroyed, only decorated with a few weeds amidst the laurels.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1963
Publisher: Atheneum