(Michael Feingold's article appeared in the Village Voice, 12/29.) 

In Misalliance, Ernest in Love, and Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 2, It's Passion vs. Parents

By George Bernard Shaw
Pearl Theatre Company (MTC Stage II)
131 West 55th Street, 212-581-1212

Ernest in Love
By Anne Croswell and Lee Pockriss
Irish Repertory Theatre
132 West 22nd Street, 212-727-2737

The Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 2
By Horton Foote
Signature Theater
555 West 42nd Street, 212-244-7529

The decades before World War I, when the Industrial Revolution was just rolling into the century of unremitting technological change that followed, mark a kind of summit, a seemingly peaceful hilltop from which one could look back with pride on the many ways mechanical progress had made life easier—or look forward, either with hope or with deep foreboding, on the upheaval that would soon be wrought by progress yet to come. All three of the works covered in this column take place on that serene yet trouble-beset hilltop. Part 2 of Horton Foote's Orphans' Home Cycle views it in memory, from the perspective of still-isolated, small-town Texas, where change comes slowly. Ernest in Love, librettist Anne Croswell and composer Lee Pockriss's 1960 musicalization of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, reanimates it with puckish, epigrammatic twinkle. And Shaw's Misalliance, the only one of the trio written in the period (1910), gives, expectably, the most searching analysis of this resting place's many bustling levels.


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