, Salem, MA


April 4, 2013

To hell and back with George Bernard Shaw


“It took months,” he said. “He has innate rhythms, profound and elegant ideas. But I knew, in order for the audience to understand all of his ideas and get his eloquence, I can’t overwhelm them. So I had to make some edits.”

Keeping the third act also kept the play in line with the theme of reflection, which the Salem theater department has addressed in each of this season’s plays.

“We’re trying to do shows that force us to reflect on our world a little bit,” Cunningham said. “I’m not sure people are taking time to reflect in this day and age.

“So much entertainment today is mindless, numbing,” he said. “I don’t want theater to be dumb. We’re not the movies. We’re an art form that’s supposed to engage people at all levels. Shaw goes for my brain, he makes me actively use my brain.”

Drawing its title, and its approach to moral problems, from the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, “Man and Superman” has no shortage of big ideas.

And if Shaw’s witty, elegant dialogue strikes modern audiences as “talky,” Cunningham feels it has merits that he wants to restore.

“There were some things they were doing then that I wish we were doing now,” he said. “I wish people comported themselves with dignity. This happens with style.”

Audiences can be entertained by stylish dialogue if they are made to feel part of the discussion, which is what Cunningham directed his cast of theater majors to do.

“There are lines you throw directly at the audience because it’s a big thought,” he said. “The audience is another cast member for you. You want to engage them with that thought so they can bring it back to the play. There are not a lot of playwrights that will engage you at that level.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Dear Abby: Younger couples weigh in on how they handle money Dear Readers: On April 11, I printed a letter from "Wondering in Washington," a man asking why young men in general today have the attitude that "any money I earn is mine" in a marriage or live-in situation. He said when he married, he and his wife c

    July 22, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Dating scene is frustrating for strong young woman Dear Abby: I am a young woman hoping to find "The One." But I have come to realize that I'm not the normal female. I don't get manicures or go shopping. (I hate shopping!) When I meet a guy, he likes that I'm "me," but if we get serious, then I'm eit

    July 21, 2014

  • Monday's Best Bets Best Bets for Monday, July 21

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out The Salem News' Best Bets.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Rev. Wesley Williams will be the featured guest for the 9:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, July 27, at Holy Trinity United Methodist Church, 16 Sylvan St., Danvers. Williams will use the sermon time to lead in the singing of spirituals and give

    July 19, 2014

  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, July 19 Church Yard Sale, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Our Lady of Fatima Church, 50 Walsh Ave., Peabody. Church-sponsored yard sale features home furnishings, clothing, children's items, furniture and more. Portuguese food will also be available. All

    July 19, 2014

  • North Shore Gardener: Can 10-year-old plant food be used? Q: As I am getting older, my gardening is less and less, but I do have three potted cherry tomato plants on my deck. I wonder if some Vigoro Water Soluble Tomato and Vegetable Plant Food that I have had in my garage for about 10 years would be safe a

    July 18, 2014

  • Dr. Kate's Parent Rap: 6 strategies to help your child build self-advocacy skills As tweens enter middle school, they are expected to manage increased responsibility and independence. Included in this set of expectations is their ability to self-advocate for their needs. Self-advocacy refers to an individual's ability to effective

    July 18, 2014

  • doughboys_2 Book Notes: Author discusses World War I at Wenham Museum All the veterans Richard Rubin interviewed for "The Last of the Doughboys," which was published in 2013, are dead now. Given that his subjects ranged in age from 101 to 113, and he started looking for them in 2003, that is hardly surprising. What re

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • womaninyard Quick pick 'East End Open Studio' An art show featuring the work of 15 artists who all live and work in the East End District of Ipswich is on view this weekend at the Ipswich Moving Company Studio at 2 Cogswell St. in Ipswich. The show is called "East End Open

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker