The W.B. Yeats Society of New York will host a joint program, “Yeats vs Shaw’s ‘John Bull’s Other Island,’” with the Gingold Theatrical Group at Arts Alliance of Resident Theatres, on
Thursday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m. at 520 Eighth Ave. (between 36th/37th Sts.), third floor.
It features David Staller, GTC artistic director, who will lead a lively discussion about “John Bull’s Other Island,” one of Shaw's most rollicking comedies and his only “Irish” play. Yeats, pictured below, commissioned Shaw to write a play to open the Abbey Theatre in 1904, but rejected it, claiming its approach to “The Irish Question” was far too comedic. Shaw then had Harley Granville Parker produce and star in the play at London's Royal Court Theatre, where it was praised for its ironic lampooning of the British Empire and the empire’s failure to address socio-political issues regarding Ireland. At a Royal Command Performance for King Edward VII, he is reported to have laughed so hard he broke his chair.
Themes of the play include the struggle for a free Ireland, colonialism, women's rights, sexuality, class systems and education. It can be read here at Gutenberg.org.
Shaw and Yeats, two brilliant Irishmen determined to use their artistic voice for the greater good, remained jovial friends in spite of their different visions of art in our world.
Click here make reservations.The show is free, but the optional reception is $15 at the door (check or cash only).