A scandalous secret threatens the relationship between a mother and daughter in ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’. (Submitted)

Chemainus Theatre presents the scandalous classic, ‘Mrs Warren’s Profession’, starting Sept. 13

A play that combines comedy with piercing social commentary: sounds like George Bernard Shaw

The Chemainus Theatre Festival presents the scandalous classic, Mrs Warren’s Profession, from Sept. 13.

This is one of George Bernard Shaw’s most controversial plays.

Mrs. Warren must attempt to reconcile with her disapproving daughter in a story sprinkled generously with sharp comedy and biting social commentary that remains relevant today.

Mrs. Warren manages a flourishing business that funds her daughter Vivie’s education at the finest boarding schools and universities; all while keeping her profession as a “madam” a secret.

Vivie, a “modern woman,” comes home to acquaint herself with her mother for the first time in her life and demands to know her mother’s secret but is unprepared to hear it. She challenges her mother in a two-woman battle of ideas between upper-class expectations and lower-class realities. Mrs. Warren’s position is that poverty and a society that condones it constitutes true immorality, while Vivie recognizes her mother’s courage, but grapples with her ongoing involvement in the business.

Mrs. Warren’s Profession was written by George Bernard Shaw in 1893 and published in 1898, but was not performed until 1902 due to government censorship of its primary subject matter. Even then, it was only produced as a private showing at London’s New Lyric Club.

Shaw, an Irish playwright, critic, and political activist, used his public persona to promote ideas of social reform. He was obsessed with the inequalities of society, particularly around the disparity between the classes and lack of women’s rights; he found these morally unjust.

In defending his play, Shaw claimed he needed to “draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply 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.” Further, he argued “starvation, overwork, dirt, and disease are as anti-social as prostitution.”

There is some irony to be realized when one considers that while Mrs. Warren’s Profession was known as a proto-feminist text, it was first performed in a club where women could only enter upon special occasion, and then only if accompanied by a man.

Some argue that Shaw created a conversation about women, rather than with women. Regardless, Mrs. Warren’s Profession still has the power to provoke conversations in present day. The playwright was never one to dodge what he saw as a real issue.

In this production, you’ll see Tariq Leslie as Mr. Praed, Martha Ansfield-Scrase as Vivie Warren, Erin Ormond as Mrs. Kitty Warren, Declan O’Reilly as Sir George Crofts, Julien Galipeau as Frank Gardner and Stephen Aberle as Reverend Samuel Gardner, all under the direction of Heather Cant.

Call the Box Office at 1-800-565-7738 or visit chemainustheatre.ca to book your tickets. It’s not a long run, and you don’t want to be disappointed.

Just Posted

Lexi Bainas column: Beverley at Black Swan, Chamber Orchestra at Honeymoon Bay, Johnstone in Germany: everyone is on the go

Volunteers needed for Xmas prep at Forest Discovery, and Lake Cow. Seniors have a talent show

Lake Flashback: Honouring Barry and Lou, Lawrence hits the road, Ken squeaks by Ted

Politics was rough back then, too, but so was the urge to preserve the Lake’s history

Santa Claus is coming to Lake Cowichan!

The Cowichan Lake Chamber’s Santa Parade and Light Up is coming to… Continue reading

Chargers win Island volleyball gold

Host DCS cruises through tourney to earn provincial berth

UPDATE with VIDEO: Daughter calls for animal safety measures after fatal accident on Cowichan’s Hwy. 18

“Safety studies and improvements to Highway 18 are vitally important”

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Most Read