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THE ROLL OF SHAW Spiegeltent/Shaw Festival
Jun 22, 2024, 19:48
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Shaw Festival
Through September 28
THE ROLL OF SHAW Spiegeltent/Shaw Festival

George Bernard Shaw liked to travel, either personally or on the script page.
I’m not sure he would ever have thought about a “Dungeons and Dragons” match, throwing dice to determine a path.
This is another of the Shaw Festival’s second year trial uses of the Spiegeltent, the circular Belgian performance space, staging four different productions this season, inside.
The first two are small, using shifting casts for performances.
“The Roll of Shaw” is one, a look at a piece of the crazed social politics of Britain’s 19th century, with Shaw so involved in so much, from the left.
The show was created by Travis Seetoo, who’s also in charge of the events on the circular table in the middle of the circular theater.
He’s flanked by two varying members of the Shaw company, who throw the dice and play the game and the three and the dice move the story along.
The afternoon I saw “Roll,” it featured Shane Carty and Cosette Derome, Carty as Eliza from “Pygmalion” and Derome as Ann Whitefield from “Man and Superman.”
Both are by Shaw.
The show opens and closes in a pub staging a socialist meeting to be addressed by Shaw.
It all turns into a brawl with Shaw stabbed, seemingly fatally.
With Seetoo establishing the framework and the other two making travel decisions with the dice, this little team runs around Victorian London in a horse-drawn cab, with a seemingly fatally-stabbed Shaw in the back.
They are trying to solve the riddle of why someone wants Shaw dead and a socialist club filled with casualties.
It probably helps if you have some sense of London’s geography, particularly more than a century ago, when the country and the Empire were ruled from a few buildings in the imperial capital by a conservative power structure.
Shaw was part of the opposition.
There are segments of this which all tie together and a “red herring” you must wait for until the end.
Fortunately, it’s only about an hour-and-a-half long, so the tangled tale won’t disturb or confuse audience members all that much.
Now, remember that the audience for this performance and probable participants in D&D are likely of different age groups.
I would have preferred some debate between Shaw and the socialists, since there was so much tumult about the issues across Britain and across time.
I know someone who owns a socialist club bar in Buffalo and I will have to ask him to see a performance and say what he thinks of the show.
Meanwhile, it’s entertaining to imagine Shaw being dragged around London in “The Roll of Shaw” and realize he has another half-century of life to write and agitate.


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