Reviewed by David Kashimba

Marin Theatre opens their season with George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance – a celebration of opposites coming together to spark a synergy of entertainment that will keep you laughing. Written in 1910, this play could have been written yesterday. Full of contemporary issues such as feminism and even terrorism, Misalliance demonstrates why Shaw is often compared to Shakespeare. Both playwrights transcend time remaining contemporary in any age. Or to put it as director Amy Glazer did, Shaw has “found a universe inside himself, and that universe still comments on the universe we live in today.”

While the first act is a little slow, the energy level starts to bubble with the appearance of veteran actor Charles Dean as John Tarelton Sr., a well read underwear manufacturer, and comes to a full boil when a Polish woman aviator, Lina Szczepanowska, played by Stacy Ross, crash lands in the Tarelton family’s green house. By the time the fairly innocent and comic terrorist shows up, played by Andrew Hurteau, the drama is boiling over with comic entertainment that also makes some profound comments on the human condition.

The drama of this well to do family is that there is no drama at all. Or as Hypatia Tarelton observes, all her family and friends of her family ever do is talk. She longs for something to drop out of the sky to change her dull life. When it actually happens in the form of two young aviators, one man and one woman, she actively pursues the man even though this was not normal behavior for a young woman in the summer of 1909. Other unusual and comic behavior is that every man in the house finds himself fiercely attracted to the independent Polish woman aviator who Mrs. Tarleton refers to as that “manwoman.” Even in the early 1900s Shaw was aware that though most men of his time made a misalliance by marrying a more passive woman who gave her life up for her man, they secretly desired an independent woman with a mind and life of her own.

When a young commoner shows up with a gun to avenge the honor of his mother, who had once been ravaged by John Tarleton Sr., the misalliances of class difference adds another comic element to this high-energy drama of juxtaposed opposites.

For tickets or more information call (415) 388-5208 or visit www.marintheatre.org.

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