Shavian Healthcare Reform
Shaw returns to our Hill at his most radically entertaining. This particular gem takes aim at medical breakthrough and the power it wields - as both healing tool and bargaining chip. Dr. Ridgeon's dilemma is two-fold: when there's not enough medicine to go around, what makes a patient cure-worthy? And can a doctor remain impartial when he's fallen in love with that patient's wife? With Shaw, the ethical sands are always shifting, and your favorite players are the most likely to fall prey to their own vanities. Side-splitting banter between charming (and not-so-charming) characters accessorizes spot-on social commentary.
Dr. Ridgeon has developed a cure for tuberculosis. He's at the very top of his game – and his patient load – when the charming Jennifer Dubedat comes to him pleading for the life of her husband, the talent-rich (and penny-poor) artist, Louis. But the good doctor and his friends find that, talented though he may be, Louis may have some character traits that could be deemed irredeemable when one life is weighed against another, and against Dr. Ridgeon's feelings for the dying man's wife.
George Bernard Shaw scrutinizes human folly and romance in APT's 'The Doctor's Dilemma'
By Kevin Lynch, Kevernacular blog, August 22, 2014
American Players Theatre explores medical ethics with a scalpel-sharp 'The Doctor's Dilemma'
By Gwen Rice, The Isthmus, August 20, 2014.
The Doctor's Dilemma - Director's Notes
I love Shaw.
I love his fierce and piercing mind.
I love his deep passions-- intellectual, moral and otherwise.
I love his quirky, malicious, delicious sense of humor-- and that he is genuinely funny without almost ever making jokes. That is incredibly hard to do.
I love his genuine insights into our manifold human foibles, failings and follies.
I love that his view of love was more probing than poetic, more rigorous than reverential, more rambunctious than romantic, and never, ever, ever saccharine or sentimental.
I love that his plays always demand the best/most from both actors and audiences.
I love that while he always strove to be entertaining—you can't be a soapbox orator and political polemicist without knowing a little entertainment value helps keep people listening—he was never content to be merely entertaining. (Or, to put it another way, he knew full well that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…)
I love that the people in his plays—this one very included—are almost always people of integrity and complexity. He didn't write villains— he wrote deeply flawed individuals, usually doing the best they could. He was deeply interested in the myriad ways we break things or hurt each other (and ourselves) with the very best of intentions.
More than anything else, perhaps, I love the fact that after more than 100 years, Shaw's plays and ideas are not only still relevant, they are still radical. Not all of them. But many! He was so wildly ahead of his time that he is still—in many ways— well ahead of ours.
I am very grateful be back at APT. I had a great experience directing THE GLASS MENAGERIE a few years back, and I'm thrilled to be working Up The Hill for the first time on a lesser-known work by (arguably) my favorite playwright. I'm excited to share this Shaw with you, an audience I can't help but imagine Shaw would have truly loved: intelligent, engaged, theatrically savvy people who prefer— at least at times—substance over form, or, as the playwright Shaw loved to hate put it, "more matter with less art."
We have done our best to cut straight to the heart of this fascinating and shockingly contemporary-feeling play that raises great questions about medicine, ethics, and science, but even more about the true nature of love, and how stupid smart people can be… and visa versa, as well. We have kept design to a minimum and used some of Shaw's own fabulous stage directions and descriptions to help set the scenes.
Thank you for joining us. I feel certain Shaw would thank you as well. Enjoy…!
- Aaron Posner