Shaw VS. Chesterton: The Debate

 

Adapted and Directed by Timothy Gregoryprovision theater

At Provision Theater, Chicago

Two heavy-weight actors portray two heavy-weigh intellectuals

Adapter and director Timothy  Gregory found transcripts of actual debates between G. K. Chesterton and G. B. Shaw so he adapted them into a stage play in the form of a debate similar to their 1927 London public debate. Brad Armacost plays Chesterton while Larry McCauley returns to the stage after years to play Shaw. With debate narrator Belloc (Michael Downey)  refereeing, the two glib debaters used their extensive wit and articulation to debate the existence of God as well as socialism (Shaw) vs. distributist (Chestertom). This well spoken 85 minute one act is filled with ideas, humor and multiple topics that still resonant today.  The repartee between these two “friendly enemies” comes across in a solidifying  relationship full of respect and fellowship. The atheist (Shaw) and the newly Catholic (Chesterton) engaged in a terrific war of wards that stimulate us with ideas and concepts.

provision theater

Chesterton was a Catholic, a distributist, a moralist, traditionalist, wine drinker, meat eater, who loved marriage, puppet shows while Shaw as an atheist, socialist, eugenicist, progressive, non-drinker, anti-marriage, vegetarian who loved black comedy. Both were prolific writers and social commentators. Larry McCauley and Brad Armacost used their verbal and acting  dexterity to most effectively present their arguments of the two heavyweights in a free-wheeling, ideas dense, debate. This is a smart, engaging exercise of how two people with divergent views  can both be friends as well as competitive rivals each seeking the minds of the British public. This is a comic drama that unfolds as a social debate and an ode to friendship. McCauley and Armacost are terrific here. Seeing two strong actors at the top of their art is something special to behold. This show is worth seeing.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: September 8, 2012

For more info checkout the Shaw VS. Chesterton: The Debate page at theatreinchicago.com

At Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL, www.provisiontheater.org, tickets $32, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 85 minutes without intermission, through October 28, 2012