“Major Barbara” By George Bernard Shaw 

51yxvM-m6TL._SL500_Major Barbara
By: George Bernard Shaw
Narrated by: Kate Burton, Roger Rees, J. B. Blanc, Matt Gaydos, Brian George, Hamish Linklater, Henri Lubatti
Length: 1 hr and 53 mins
Produced 2008 L.A. Theatre Works

It’s time once again, for me anyhow, to revisit some of the outstanding productions by L.A. Theatre Works.  If you’ve never heard any of these productions, do yourself a favor and check them out at:  LATW.org.  L.A. Theatre Works records the audio of their performances to release as audiobook forms of great plays.  Their library online seems endless, and every performance features major celebrities performing live on stage.

This time around I was looking for some of the plays I was supposed to read in college, but found my way around not doing so.  Hey, I had limited time.

George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara” was one that was assigned for my Theatre History class and also for the directing class.  So I had to work extra hard to avoid reading the whole play.  Thanks to Cliff’s Notes I got around reading the whole play and got by with just reading certain scenes.  Now, for the whole play.  To sum up and make brief, the final decision is that sometimes you have to make a deal with the devil to save the souls of the masses.

This play is one of what is called Shaw’s “Discussion” plays.  In which the conversation of the characters is a running conversation of good vs. evil.   While some plays are just pure entertainment, many have some sort of lesson to be learned.  That in itself is the beauty of theatre, especially when visiting the “classics.”

Morality, religion, and social engineering are the main ideas of this play.  In the case of Barbara, a Major in the Salvation army, she is in a conundrum of whether to accept charity donations for the salvation of the souls she’s tending to from her father, Andrew Undershaft, who profits on war.  She also learns the Salvation Army is accepting money from a whiskey distiller.  So should a charity trying to convert people to Christianity, thus saving their souls, accept money from immoral sources?

All the performances in this production are the usual top-notch performances that can be expected from all of L.A. Theatre Works’ productions.

Publisher’s Summary
Barbara is a major in the Salvation Army – but she’s also the daughter of Andrew Undershaft, a man who’s made millions from the sale of weapons of war. The real battle, however, rages between between the devilish father and his idealistic daughter as they answer the question: does salvation come through faith or finance? This sparkling comedy traverses family relations, religion, ethics and politics – as only Shaw, the master dramatist, can!
©2008 L.A. Theatre Works