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Getting Married

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Getting Married

by George Bernard Shaw

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


A dozen-or-so assorted Shavian characters, quarrelling about whether the wedding they’re all gathered to attend should take place.

An excerpt: (NMI note: “Leo” in the following excerpt is a woman.)THE GENERAL. Would you, a Bishop, approve of such partnerships?

THE BISHOP. Do you think that I, a Bishop, approve of the Deceased Wife’s Sister Act? That did not prevent its becoming law.

THE GENERAL. But when the Government sounded you as to whether youd marry a man to his deceased wife’s sister you very naturally and properly told them youd see them damned first.

THE BISHOP [horrified] No, no, really, Boxer! You must not–

THE GENERAL [impatiently] Oh, of course I dont mean that you used those words. But that was the meaning and the spirit of it.

THE BISHOP. Not the spirit, Boxer, I protest. But never mind that. The point is that State marriage is already divorced from Church marriage. The relations between Leo and Rejjy and Sinjon are perfectly legal; but do you expect me, as a Bishop, to approve of them?

THE GENERAL. I dont defend Reginald. He should have kicked you out of the house, Mr. Hotchkiss.

REGINALD [rising] How could I kick him out of the house? He’s stronger than me: he could have kicked me out if it came to that. He did kick me out: what else was it but kicking out, to take my wife’s affections from me and establish himself in my place? [He comes to the hearth].

HOTCHKISS. I protest, Reginald, I said all that a man could to prevent the smash.

REGINALD. Oh, I know you did: I dont blame you: people dont do these things to one another: they happen and they cant be helped. What was I to do? I was old: she was young. I was dull: he was brilliant. I had a face like a walnut: he had a face like a mushroom. I was as glad to have him in the house as she was: he amused me. And we were a couple of fools: he gave us good advice –told us what to do when we didnt know. She found out that I wasnt any use to her and he was; so she nabbed him and gave me the chuck.

LEO. If you dont stop talking in that disgraceful way about our married life, I’ll leave the room and never speak to you again.


Mainly a dissertation about marriage; not really a play, although it’s in dialogue form, and there are some changes which happen to the characters. But at its core it is a treatise, not a story, and hence, ill-suited for adaptation to the musical stage.


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