Directed by Oxy theater professor John Bouchard, this infrequently performed early Shaw comedy celebrates life and the delight and absurdity of sex and romance, and comments on England's politics, class hierarchy and social norms.
The four-act play is set in an English seaside resort town and tells the story of Lanfrey Clandon, the author of a popular series of self-help books for the "modern family," and her three grown children, Dolly, Philip and Gloria, who have just returned to England after an 18-year stay on the Portuguese island of Madeira. The children have no idea who their father is and, through a comedy of errors, end up inviting him to a family lunch.
At the same time, a dentist named Mr. Valentine has fallen in love with the elder daughter, Gloria---but Gloria considers herself an emancipated woman and claims no interest in love or marriage. At lunch, sociological, sexual and familial chaos follow, and the waiter, Walter, negotiates the meal and dispenses wisdom with the phrase "you never can tell."
"You Never Can Tell" made its debut on the London stage in 1897, and was published in "Plays Pleasant," a volume of plays by the Nobel Prize-winning Irish playwright. Scenic and lighting design of the Oxy production is by theater professor and department chair Susan Gratch, with costume design by adjunct assistant professor Tom Slotten. "You Never Can Tell" has a student cast of 12 and a production staff of 56.
The November 30 and December 1-3 performances of the play will be at 7:30 p.m. The December 4 performance will be at 2 p.m. Bouchard will give a talk after the Friday, December 2, performance. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for seniors, Oxy students, faculty and staff. Group rates are also available. For tickets and more information, call the box office at (323) 259-2922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.