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    Arms and the Man

    مُساهمة  Mr. Mag في الخميس نوفمبر 04, 2010 9:29 am

    Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw, whose title comes from the opening words of Virgil's Aeneid in Latin: "Arma virumque cano" (Of arms and the man I sing). (Perseus Project A.1.1)

    The play was first produced on April 21, 1894 at the Avenue Theatre, and published in 1898 as part of Shaw's Plays Pleasant volume, which also included Candida, You Never Can Tell, and The Man of Destiny. The play was one of Shaw's first commercial successes. He was called onto stage after the curtain, where he received enthusiastic applause. However, amidst the cheers, one audience member booed. Shaw replied, in characteristic fashion: "My dear fellow, I quite agree with you, but what are we two against so many?"[1]

    Contents [hide]
    1 Plot summary
    2 Subsequent productions
    3 In performance
    4 Adaptations
    5 References


    [edit] Plot summary
    The play takes place during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War. Its heroine, Raina (rah-EE-na) Petkoff, is a young Bulgarian woman engaged to Sergius Saranoff, one of the heroes of that war, whom she idolizes. One night, a Swiss mercenary soldier in the Serbian army, Captain Bluntschli, bursts through her bedroom window and firstly threatens Raina, then begs her to hide him, so that he is not killed. Raina complies, though she thinks the man a coward, especially when he tells her that he does not carry pistol cartridges, but chocolates. When the battle dies down, Raina and her mother sneak Bluntschli out of the house, disguised in an old housecoat.

    The war ends and Sergius returns to Raina, but also flirts with her insolent servant girl Louka (a soubrette role), whom they think is engaged to the loyal house servant Nicola. Raina begins to find Sergius both foolhardy and tiresome, but she hides it. Bluntschli unexpectedly returns so that he can give back the old housecoat, but also so that he can see her. Raina and her mother are shocked, especially when her father and Sergius reveal that they have met Bluntschli before, and invite him to stay for lunch and to help them with troop movements.

    Afterwards, left alone with Bluntschli, Raina realizes that he sees through her romantic posturing, but that he respects her as a woman, as Sergius does not. She tells him that she had left a portrait of herself in the pocket of the coat, inscribed "To my chocolate-cream soldier", but Bluntschli says that he didn't find it and that it must still be in the coat pocket. Bluntschli gets a note informing him of his father's death and revealing to him his now enormous wealth. Louka then tells Sergius that Bluntschli is the man whom Raina protected, and that Raina is really in love with him. So Sergius challenges him to a duel, but the men avoid fighting and Sergius and Raina break off their engagement (with some relief on both sides). Raina's father discovers the portrait in the pocket of his housecoat, but Raina and Bluntschli trick him by taking out the portrait before he finds it again, only tell him that his mind is playing tricks on him. After Bluntschli reveals the whole story to Major Petkoff, Sergius proposes marriage to Louka (to Mrs. Petkoff's horror). Nicola quietly and gallantly lets Sergius have her, and Bluntschli, recognising Nicola's dedication and ability, determines to offer him a job as a hotel manager.

    Raina, having realized the hollowness of her romantic ideals and her fiancé's values, protests that she would prefer her poor "chocolate-cream soldier" to this wealthy businessman. Bluntschli says that he is still the same person, and the play ends with Raina proclaiming her love for him and Bluntschli, with Swiss precision, both clearing up the major's troop movement problems and informing everyone that he will return to be married to Raina exactly two weeks from Tuesday.

    Mr. Mag
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    رد: Arms and the Man

    مُساهمة  Mr. Mag في الخميس نوفمبر 04, 2010 9:34 am

    Shaw was already a celebrity arts critic and socialist lecturer when he wrote Arms and the Man in 1894. One of Shaw’s earliest attempts at writing for the theatre, it was also his first commercial success as a playwright. Although it played for only one season at an avant-garde theatre, thanks to the financial backing of a friend, it was later produced in America in 1895. Accustomed to the melodramas of the age, however, even sophisticated audiences often did not discern the serious purpose of Shaw’s play. Thus, Shaw considered it a failure.
    True success did not come until 1898, when Arms and the Man was published as one of the “pleasant” plays in Shaw’s collection called Plays: Pleasant and Unpleasant, and it subsequently gained popularity as a written work. Included in this collection of plays are lengthy explanatory prefaces, which note significant issues in the plays and which have been invaluable to critics. In place of brief stage directions, Shaw’s plays also included lengthy instructions and descriptions. Another unique aspect of Arms and the Man was its use of a woman as the central character.
    Set during the four-month-long Serbo-Bulgarian War that occurred between November 1885 and March 1886, this play is a satire on the foolishness of glorifying something so terrible as war, as well as a satire on the foolishness of basing your affections on idealistic notions of love. These themes brought reality and a timeless lesson to the comic stage. Consequently, once Shaw’s genius was recognized, Arms and the Man became one of Shaw’s most popular plays and has remained a classic ever since.

    Arms and the Man Summary
    Act 1
    It is November 1885, during the Serbo-Bulgarian War. Raina Petkoff, a young Bulgarian woman, is in her bedchamber when her mother, Catherine, enters and announces there has been a battle close by and that Raina’s fiancé, Major Sergius Saranoff, was the hero of a cavalry charge. The women rejoice that Sergius has proven to be as heroic as they expected, but they soon turn to securing the house because of fighting in the streets. Nonetheless, a Serbian officer gains entry through Raina’s shutters. Raina decides to hide him and she denies having seen anyone when she is questioned by a Russian officer who is hunting for a man seen climbing the water pipe to Raina’s balcony. Raina covers well, and the Russian leaves without noticing the pistol on Raina’s bed.
    When Raina hands the gun to the Serbian after the Russian leaves, the Serbian admits that the gun is not loaded because he carries chocolates in his cartridge belt instead of ammunition. He explains that he is a Swiss mercenary fighting for the Serbs because it is his profession to be a soldier and the Serbian war was close by. He adds that old, experienced soldiers carry food while only the young soldiers carry weapons. Shocked by this attitude, Raina criticizes him for being a poor soldier. He counters by describing what makes a real fool, not knowing that his version of the day’s cavalry charge makes fun of her betrothed. She is incensed but agrees to let him stay once he impresses upon her the danger of going back out into the street. She tries to impress him with her family’s wealth and position, saying that they have the nobility to give refuge to an enemy. He pledges her safety and advises her to tell her mother about his presence, to keep matters proper. While she is gone, he falls into a deep sleep on her bed and he cannot be roused by a shocked Catherine. Raina takes pity on him and asks that they let him sleep.
    Act 2
    On March 6, 1886, Raina’s father, Major Paul Petkoff, comes home and announces the end of the war. Catherine is upset that the Serbians have agreed to a peace treaty, believing that her side should have a glorious victory. Major Saranoff arrives just after Petkoff makes comments... »

    Mr. Mag
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    رد: Arms and the Man

    مُساهمة  Mr. Mag في الخميس نوفمبر 04, 2010 9:36 am

    http://artsalive.ca/pdf/eth/activities/arms_guide.pdf

      الوقت/التاريخ الآن هو السبت ديسمبر 10, 2016 6:36 pm