Is Canadian politics conducive to comedy? It’s definitely conducive to satire.
Michael Healey describes his new play PROUD as being like Pygmalion, the George Bernard Shaw play where Professor Henry Higgins remodels the Cockney girl Eliza into a proper lady (you may be more familiar with the “My Fair Lady” musical version). Can you imagine Stephen Harper (or rather a prime minister character with a shocking similarity to Harper) and an ingénue female MP character playing corresponding roles? (An ingénue to the extent that she is new to Parliament, but definitely not an ingénue when it comes to manipulation and power plays.)
Although I find Shaw to sometimes be problematic (he is nothing is not forthright in his opinions), I am always engaged by Shaw’s writing. I am curious to see how Healey makes this play work–I am hoping for the wit and unexpected humour that Shaw often provides. I will endeavour to set aside hyperrealistic tendencies (the ones that might whisper or shout that Harper’s administration is not exactly known for sex scandals, whatever other embarrassing events have taken place).
The reviews from the Toronto production are generally positive (“funny and foul-mouthed, yet surprisingly sweet”). However, it’s fair to point out that at least one reviewer sees the play as misogynistic and stereotypical.
Firehall is generously offering several days of half-price previews, and Wednesday matinees continue to be pay-what-you-can.