When Moral Principles Lose Out to Love

Megan Trout, Dan Hoyle, Michael Gene Sullivan, and Warren David Keith star in George Bernard Shaw's 'Widowers' Houses'

Megan Trout, Dan Hoyle, Michael Gene Sullivan, and Warren David Keith star in George Bernard Shaw's 'Widowers' Houses' (Photo: Courtesy of Aurora Theatre)

George Bernard Shaw’s first play, Widowers’ Houses, was partly inspired by Shaw’s experience working as a rent-collector for a London slumlord. The play is a comic romance, but also a sermon on abusive landlords and tenants’ rights. Widowers’ Houses earned Shaw plenty of boos at its premiere in 1892. While Shaw blames the slumlord Mr. Sartorius (who gets the best lines in the play) for the dangerous and dirty housing he provides to the poor, he also condemns the wealthy theater goers in the audience and city laws for their complicity. Dan Hoyle, famous for his solo shows Tings Dey Happen and The Real Americans, stars as Harry Trench, a doctor torn between love for his fiancee Blanche Sartorius (Megan Trout), and revulsion at the source of her income, her father’s slum empire.

“It’s a story about what happens,” Hoyle told me recently, “when you find out that the people you love have acquired their money through unjust means. And how do you reconcile with that. So really it’s about reconciling with capitalism.”

Details for Widowers’ Houses Jan. 26- March 4 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley are here.

When Moral Principles Lose Out to Love 7 February,2018Cy Musiker

Author

Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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