March 15, 2001: Shaw, Back to Methuselah

Barbican Pit, Royal Shakespeare Company

Last night, a fine production of Shaw’s Back to Methuselah, a four-hour redaction of what is probably a twelve-hour, five-part play (a “Metabiological Pentateuch,” as Shaw subtitled it), at the RSC Barbican Pit. A very large cast of characters expertly doubled and tripled by eleven actors. My only complaint is that the director, who is also the adapter, David Fielding, doesn’t know that the word “long-lived” is an adjectival compound made from the noun phrase “long life,” and is therefore pronounced “long-lIved,” not “long-lived.” Makes no sense to say it that way — least of all in a play that is all about long life and how to live it.


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An American Playgoer in London by Joseph Donohue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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