Misallianceby George Bernard Shaw
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours
Candidate for Adaptation? Promising
One of Shaw’s funniest plays. Hypatia is a bored heiress to an underwear fortune, trapped in an unhappy engagement. But then a plane crashes into the roof, bringing a handsome man,
a female daredevil and an evening of Shavian banter.
HYPATIA. Aha! arn’t you glad I’ve caught you?
PERCIVAL. [illhumoredly turning away from her and coming towards the writing table] No I’m not. Confound it, what sort of girl are you? What sort of house is this? Must I throw all good manners to the winds?
HYPATIA. [following him] Do, do, do, do, do. This is the house of a respectable shopkeeper, enormously rich. This is the respectable shopkeeper’s daughter, tired of good manners. [Slipping her left hand into his right] Come, handsome young man, and play with the respectable shopkeeper’s daughter.
PERCIVAL. [withdrawing quickly from her touch] No, no: don’t you know you mustn’t go on like this with a perfect stranger?
HYPATIA. Dropped down from the sky. Don’t you know that you must always go on like this when you get the chance? You must come to the top of the hill and chase me through the bracken. You may kiss me if you catch me.
PERCIVAL. I shall do nothing of the sort.
HYPATIA. Yes you will: you cant help yourself. Come along. [She seizes his sleeve]. Fool, fool: come along. Dont you want to?
PERCIVAL. No: certainly not. I should never be forgiven if I did it.
HYPATIA. You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t.
PERCIVAL. Nonsense. You’re engaged to Ben. Ben’s my friend. What do you take me for?
HYPATIA. Ben’s old. Ben was born old. They’re all old here, except you and me and the man-woman or woman-man or whatever you call her that came with you. They never do anything: they only discuss whether what other people do is right. Come and give them something to discuss.
PERCIVAL. I will do nothing incorrect.
HYPATIA. Oh, don’t be afraid, little boy: you’ll get nothing but a kiss; and I’ll fight like the devil to keep you from getting that. But we must play on the hill and race through the heather.
HYPATIA. Because we want to, handsome young man.
PERCIVAL. But if everybody went on in this way–
HYPATIA. How happy! oh how happy the world would be!
PERCIVAL. But the consequences may be serious.
HYPATIA. Nothing is worth doing unless the consequences may be serious. My father says so; and I’m my father’s daughter.
PERCIVAL. I’m the son of three fathers. I mistrust these wild impulses.
HYPATIA. Take care. You’re letting the moment slip. I feel the first chill of the wave of prudence. Save me.
A lot of characters to track, and therefore a lot a song spotting possibilities…and therefore there’s a danger in adapting Shaw’s two-hour soufflé that it will become a four hour-long songfest. But there’s a lot of wonderful stuff here, and a musical made of it has the potential to be delightful. (Before you begin, research whether there’s already a musical out there based on this play?)
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