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Interview with Donal Donelly

BROADCAST: Jun. 19, 1978 | DURATION: 00:53:33

Synopsis

Discussing George Bernard Shaw with Donal Donnelly.

Transcript

Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.

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Studs Terkel George Bernard Shaw will be in town, alive and well and full of his wit, acerbity, and his humanity. George Bernard Shaw in the person of Donal Donnelly, a very excellent actor who has received a marvelous reviews from audience and critics where he's done it. It's a one-man play, it'll be at the St. Nicholas Theatre beginning tonight. That is, the 21st on Wednesday and running through July 2nd. That is Wednesdays through Sundays, twice on Sunday. And so Donal Donelly, who was so excellent in "Sleuth" here with Anthony Quayle, before that in Brian Friel's, "Philadelphia, Here I Come", is Now Bernard Shaw. And so we'll be talking with GBS in a moment. A lot of his thoughts that are so appropriate now, in a moment after this message. [pause in recording]

George Bernard Shaw [Unintelligible] of war, which is making us all shake in our shoes at present. I am like yourself, I have an intense objection to having my house demolished by a bomb from an aero plane, and myself killed in a horribly painful way by mustard gas. I have visions of streets heaped with mangled corpses, in which children wander crying for their parents, and babies gasp and strangle in the clutches of dead mothers. That is what war means nowadays. It is what is happening in Spain and in China whilst I speak to you, and it may happen to us tomorrow.

Studs Terkel That's George Bernard Shaw, and not being witty at that moment at all but being indignant and full of anger at the follies of power and stupidities. That was 1937, Donal, at the time of the Spanish War and just after the Japanese invasion of China, and it's Shaw, always speaking out, wasn't he?

Donal Donnelly Yes. Desperately concerned. I imagine next of -- well, both twin favorite causes, poverty and war, which he never, never lost.

Studs Terkel We think of Shaw, you know we think of Shaw immediately as witty and funny and people smile because of his aphorisms and his wit and as his sunny plays, too, but forgetting that he was a very passionate man.

Donal Donnelly He was, and it's very difficult for us to put ourselves back into those very early days moving towards the end of the 19th century when a very passionate, concerned, and even then acerbic and the fiercely mischievous ego that took him, carried him from Dublin to London, and almost from the word go, he had -- he said once and I'm paraphrasing now on this, he said that what was moving him towards London was that he, from Dublin apart from his beloved National Gallery where he wandered from the age of ten learning about painting, and to which he left a considerable size of his estate when he went, that he felt in London, apart from that that he felt there was nothing for him there in Dublin, and he felt that in London was the center of creative activity and the whole life of literature.

Studs Terkel What was this time? He was about 20 years old. This would have been when? In turn of the century?

Donal Donnelly Oh, before, because I mean he was a established great drama critic by the 1880s.

Studs Terkel Oh, was he? By 1880s he was? So this is

Donal Donnelly He's -- [amazingly?] to say just after a very short time in London to say that he felt all those things would be. But when he got there he found everything so unutterably false that to be right, one had only to contradict.

Studs Terkel What's the phrase he used on leaving Dublin for London?

Donal Donnelly Well, he said -- this is in fact how we use a lot of that, of his own writings on that to introduce the show so that the audience will have an opportunity of seeing a slight piece of the background of the young man. He's -- he was working in a small real estate agency and his letter of resignation shows us a lot, when he said he was giving them a month's notice, and he says the reason he was leaving for employment was because "I object to receiving a salary for which I give no adequate value." But he said to them, "If I had gone to the hills nearby to look back upon Dublin and ponder upon myself, I might have become a poet like Yeats or Singh and the rest and sang sad songs upon the state of life. Though I was intensely proud of being Irish, I was a very bad Irishman in the Sinn Fein or a chosen people sense. I knew my destiny was to be a good European in the Nietzschean sense. I could not stay there dreaming my life away on the Irish hills. England had conquered Ireland, so there was nothing for it but to go over and conquer England."

Studs Terkel What did you -- I think, I listened to you. We heard Shaw's voice and it was badly reproduced, it was 1937 an old recording, but you caught the flavor. You heard his -- you los -- you also I suppose you just drowned yourself in his writings and letters, didn't you?

Donal Donnelly There was as regards the -- there's a very, as you could hear at the beginning of those old recordings, the marvelously seductive cadence and flow to -- now, of course we've only got tapes and recordings, film of the old Shaw, and there is no way one can present any form of impersonation the younger Shaw, there is no -- so one has to work back. There are great descriptions of this young man.

Studs Terkel So you do him as a younger Shaw becoming old?

Donal Donnelly Yes. The first half we take him as it were from Dublin to London.

Studs Terkel So this is about, he's about 20.

Donal Donnelly Yes.

Studs Terkel And this is about 1870. Around

Donal Donnelly Yes, and we took him through when he became a public speaker, trained himself because he was a nervous wreck when he attempted it first, and desperately shy. And he built himself into arguably one of the greatest orators and debaters in the world. We take him through that period. We take him into journalism, into became the musical critic, he became the drama critic, appointed by Frank Harris incidentally, who was editor of "The Saturday Review", and through his relations with the ladies, his lady loves, on paper and off paper.

Studs Terkel And was it ever, was it ever off paper? I mean, this is one of the questions always, wasn't Shaw always the spiritual lover? Was there ever actual? Not that it matters too much, but.

Donal Donnelly Yes, he had actually recorded the night that he lost his virginity. Which was with Mrs. Jenny Peterson, who was a widow lady in a very rather elegant way. The entry in the diary is "Went to visit Jenny at Brompton Square and stayed there until three o'clock this morning, on my 29th birthday, which I celebrated with a new experience."

Studs Terkel We come to Shaw though, forget so many -- so gifted. He was a brilliant music critic. He was a brilliant drama critic, he's the one who he first discovered Ibsen, didn't he? I mean, or he's the one who

Donal Donnelly Promoted him.

Studs Terkel Made him, promoted Ibsen I should say.

Donal Donnelly Oh, tremendous. Had him done in drawing rooms, and it was a great -- Ibsen was one of his great

Studs Terkel 'Cause Ibsen was under attack by some of the more traditional critics, [it was Shaw?] and he was a fantastic music critic.

Donal Donnelly Well you see, he is saying about you know because of the theatre of the time which was of course how to please and they still say, you still hear people say, "My first duty is to entertain the audience and give the people what they want," and Shaw used to say, "I will not give the people what they want. I'll give them what's good for them." And his early plays as you know were banned, and he had to wait for years for them to be produced. I think "Mrs. Warren's Profession" took an incredible 22 years before its London production. Before that, it had already been done in Austria and Germany.

Studs Terkel You are GBS, and you're -- at the same time as involved with theater and with music, there is -- he doesn't associate that from the other aspects of the world, from politics, from life, he's, he connects them all. All related.

Donal Donnelly He's a great, great crusader in areas that you know, that have gone and been forgotten. For instance, when he arrived in London, flogging was normal punishment in the forces, which appalled him. He could not bear cruelty of any nature, and all through his life railed against it. He took that as a cause. He went across England with his lecture "Flogging as a Punishment". And in little towns it was "Tonight", Bernard Shaw, "Flogging as a Punishment". I think it's in the American's book, well, he wrote three books, but the autobiography by Archibald Henderson. there's a story there of someone who saw him in a Yorkshire, small Yorkshire town, small village hall winter's night giving his lecture crusading and he always left a long time, an hour or so if, for a question and answer which he was beginning to love. And after his lecture that night, this man arose in the audience and identified himself as an ex-chaplain in his Majesty's forces, and said to Shaw, "As chaplain in the forces I have had to attend many courts-martial. Would it interest Mr. Shaw to know that on many occasions prisoners have requested flogging rather than incarceration?" And Shaw said, "Ah, I see. Well, I must draw the reverend gentleman's attention to the title of my lecture, which is 'Flogging as a Punishment,' not 'Flogging as a Luxury.'"

Studs Terkel Oh, boy. Yeah. Isn't that, so he

Donal Donnelly That was it. All these crusades, he was in so many, and the last -- not the last [values?], but the last really atrocious legalized piece of savagery on imperial level was the -- Denshawai, which inadvertently gave rise to the young -- again produced the young Sadat, who mentions it in his memoirs. Denshawai was really the most appalling thing that happened in an Egyptian village, which kind of pigeon farmers, and these English officers and went out one Saturday morning. Although they'd been, everyone had been told many times, just don't, it's like shooting a farmer's chickens or hens. And they went out and started shooting the pigeons, and the villagers went berserk, and there was great chaos. And in the midst of which a gun went off and nicked one of the Egyptian wives just slightly in her buttock. The people went screaming, the officers became panic-stricken. One of them they told to run, and this is in the noonday sun, to run like mad for help. And he fled and collapsed and died some miles away from the sun and his heart and everything. Incredibly, they -- about 12 of the villagers were charged with murder, and they I think they were all flogged and seven I think were hanged in the village, and the rest were flogged and put in sentences from five to 10 years in jail. He took that cause, Denshawai, he fought it through and through to cabinet level. People -- newspapers, the conservative press, which predominantly conservative press, ignored him. The only time "The Daily Mail" ever mentioned it was to make a joke where he called the Denshawai villagers Denshavians. Affectionately. And he won through, and he got the people released, and this is a letter to some very concerned people in Egypt. His last letter says, "This is as far as I can go. I have the minister's guarantee that they will all be released and home in their village by Christmas. The hanged can't be unhung, and the flogged can't be deflogged, but this is as much as I can do."

Studs Terkel He was always there. War, since we heard him on war at the beginning. He had a suggestion. You as Bernard Shaw I think offer it during your evening of

Donal Donnelly Oh, that's about -- this is, even within that [seriousness?] for that war speech, he could never resist this humourous anticlimax which he said he got from his father. This gift of anticlimax which he said was unconscious in his writing. It just came. But he's saying, "If nations had any sense, they would begin a war by sending their oldest men into the trenches. In 1914 it was a dreadful thing to see regiments of young lads singing 'Tipperary' on their way to the slaughterhouse. But the spectacle of regiments of octogenarians hobbling to the front waving their walking sticks and piping up to the tune of 'We'll never come back no more, boys, we'll never come back no more,' wouldn't you cheer that enthusiastically? I would."

Studs Terkel That's marvelous. That's true. There he was, and the old winter jing-- the young and -- he always had, in the midst of his passionate, you know his polemics, not against individuals, that's the point, but against institutions and the stupidity

Donal Donnelly Attitudes and

Studs Terkel He, he would always have humor, too. But on this matter of debates, he was never personal. He never injured people individually, he was, it was the idea.

Donal Donnelly Yes, and could never understand, you know somebody who after a rather intense debate would have nothing more to do with him. I think it was [disingenerving?], he said I, "Doesn't he understand that we were debating issues here?" He held onto Wells for a long time. Wells used to get very hysterical apparently and you know those letters to him saying, "No, you're not going to lose my friendship. You can take my good manners, but you're not going to lose my

Studs Terkel "You're not going to lose my friendship." I'm looking for another -- oh, here it is. This is the one. I wish you would read this. This is from Stanley Weintraub, a Shavian scholar. It's Shaw's letters, many letters between the years of 1914-18 during the war, the hor-- World War One that so affected England far more than us. England, it was -- they speak of the war, the Great War, the World War One, and his friend Mrs. Patrick Campbell the actress.

Donal Donnelly Yes.

Studs Terkel Who, whom, with whom he's very close, loses a son. Her son was killed in the war. And Barrie, J.M. Barrie wrote to her how sad he was for her ordeal, but she should be proud. He died with honor and she should hold her head up high. You know, Stella Campbell, and Shaw writes a letter about that. Why don't you read that?

Donal Donnelly That was, yes, on top of the Barrie letter, that's -- and then she wrote to Shaw saying that she received from the clergyman, the chaplain in her son's unit a letter which she was saying is it says here "full of tragic gentleness and praise of my brave son." Well you see Shaw, this whole thing took Shaw by surprise and he was so staggered and shocked and again this senseless carnage and lots of young lives, and his letter which I'll read from your book here to Mrs. Pat: "Never saw it or heard about it until your letter came. It's no use. I can't be sympathetic. These things simply make me furious. I want to swear. I do swear. Killed just because people are blasted fools. A chaplain, too, to say nice things about it. It is not his business to say nice things about it, but to shout, shout that the voice of thy son's blood cryeth unto God from the ground. To hell with your chaplain and his tragic gentleness. The next shell will perhaps blow him to bits, and some other chaplain will write such a nice letter to his mother. Such nice letters. Such nice little notices in the papers. Gratifying, isn't it? Consoling. It only needs a letter from the king to make me feel that the shell was a blessing in disguise. No, don't show me the letter, but I should very much like to have a nice talk with that dear chaplain. That sweet sky pilot, that -- no use going on like this, Stella. Wait for a week. Then I shall be very clever and broad-minded again and have forgotten all about him. I shall be quite as nice as the chaplain. Oh, damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn!"

Studs Terkel Boy, well, that's something, isn't it? He didn't fool around, did he?

Donal Donnelly No.

Studs Terkel You know, this is -- see, you do Shaw, as you say there's so much of him that you can't capture all of him, so in this evening it is the young, the young, well curiosity person. He's everything. He came to London. What? To be -- to write? What was

Donal Donnelly He came to London and he tried his hand at different jobs just to make a living, because he when he was writing about a period at a very young age, I think at 25 he was writing about the 20-year-old period, and he said, "I knew I was a born writer and I knew how to wait for success in literature. But I did not know how to live on air in the interim. At first, I prepared to enter the civil service, but as I was neither a linguist not a mathematician, I had to study for a small berth. Then a friend of my mother's, who was musical critic to a weekly paper, offered me the emoluments of the post if I would discharge under his name its duties. I immediately threw up my studies and set to work to reform the musical profession. At the end of a year, my friend was one of the most unpopular men in London."

Studs Terkel He ghosted for him

Donal Donnelly Destroyed him!

Studs Terkel This was Shaw, and then he became what? Music critic, drama, and now by this time his reputation, because what is everything, his style, his, his insights.

Donal Donnelly Yes, and you see that we've got to remember just where we're saying at the very beginning just how -- what opposition he had, when you've got the bulk of the media doing their very, very best to misrepresent you because they want what you say not to be heeded, because it was the antithesis of everything that it stood for. Now we were talking about that earlier when we were chatting before the program, the Don Juan piece. Can you -- can you even to this day, can you imagine the bourgeois society or the establishmentarians entrenched establishmentarians facing even to this day?

Studs Terkel I think what Donal Donnelly is talking about is a, is a portrait I have hanging on the wall of my ramshackle, disheveled, wretched-looking office, so everything, but on the wall is a picture of Shaw and this quote from "Don Juan in Hell". Well, you could -- we'll set the scene for this. This is, I think this is Don Juan talking. And they're talking about middle -- a society of established, respectable law-abiding people, and Shaw -- well Don Juan -- Shaw through Don Juan is offering his view. It

Donal Donnelly It is of the, it is that entrenched, smug society, a society of manners and of postures and devoid of the feelings which Shaw, you know, felt was so essential if anything was going to be done for the mass of the people. "Your friends are the dullest dogs I know. They are not beautiful. They are only decorated. They are not clean. They are only shaved and starched. They are not dignified. They are only fashionably dressed. They are not educated. They are only college passmen. They are not religious. They are only pew [renters?]. They are not moral, they are only conventional. They are not virtuous, they are only cowardly. They are not even vicious. They are only frail. They are not artistic. They are only lascivious. They are not prosperous. They are only rich. They are not loyal, they are only servile. Not dutiful, only sheepish. Not public-spirited, only patriotic. Not courageous, only quarrelsome. Not determined, only obstinate. Not masterful, only domineering. Not self-controlled, only obtuse. Not self-respecting, only vain. Not kind, only sentimental. Not social, only gregarious. Not considerate, only polite. Not intelligent, only opinionated. Not progressive, only factious. Not imaginative, only superstitious. Not just only vindictive, not disciplined, only cowed. And not truthful at all. Liars, every one of them, to the very backbone of their souls."

Studs Terkel Boy, what a devastating, what he would do, wouldn't he? He just acts -- Shaw didn't

Donal Donnelly Leave not a shred

Studs Terkel When he, you see, here it is. He was gentle as a person I'm told, and by Dame Sybil Thorndike in the last years of her life was remembering Shaw. It was during a conversation. Her moment when she was doing "St. Joan", 'cause he wrote it for her, and she, "He was so gentle, and compa-- and to the actors kind, he'd read all parts of course beautifully, but it's the hypocrisy and the brutishness that he hated.

Donal Donnelly

Studs Terkel George Bernard Shaw will be in town, alive and well and full of his wit, acerbity, and his humanity. George Bernard Shaw in the person of Donal Donnelly, a very excellent actor who has received a marvelous reviews from audience and critics where he's done it. It's a one-man play, it'll be at the St. Nicholas Theatre beginning tonight. That is, the 21st on Wednesday and running through July 2nd. That is Wednesdays through Sundays, twice on Sunday. And so Donal Donelly, who was so excellent in "Sleuth" here with Anthony Quayle, before that in Brian Friel's, "Philadelphia, Here I Come", is Now Bernard Shaw. And so we'll be talking with GBS in a moment. A lot of his thoughts that are so appropriate now, in a moment after this message. [pause in recording] [Unintelligible] of war, which is making us all shake in our shoes at present. I am like yourself, I have an intense objection to having my house demolished by a bomb from an aero plane, and myself killed in a horribly painful way by mustard gas. I have visions of streets heaped with mangled corpses, in which children wander crying for their parents, and babies gasp and strangle in the clutches of dead mothers. That is what war means nowadays. It is what is happening in Spain and in China whilst I speak to you, and it may happen to us tomorrow. That's George Bernard Shaw, and not being witty at that moment at all but being indignant and full of anger at the follies of power and stupidities. That was 1937, Donal, at the time of the Spanish War and just after the Japanese invasion of China, and it's Shaw, always speaking out, wasn't he? Yes. Desperately concerned. I imagine next of -- well, both twin favorite causes, poverty and war, which he never, never lost. We think of Shaw, you know we think of Shaw immediately as witty and funny and people smile because of his aphorisms and his wit and as his sunny plays, too, but forgetting that he was a very passionate man. He was, and it's very difficult for us to put ourselves back into those very early days moving towards the end of the 19th century when a very passionate, concerned, and even then acerbic and the fiercely mischievous ego that took him, carried him from Dublin to London, and almost from the word go, he had -- he said once and I'm paraphrasing now on this, he said that what was moving him towards London was that he, from Dublin apart from his beloved National Gallery where he wandered from the age of ten learning about painting, and to which he left a considerable size of his estate when he went, that he felt in London, apart from that that he felt there was nothing for him there in Dublin, and he felt that in London was the center of creative activity and the whole life of literature. What was this time? He was about 20 years old. This would have been when? In turn of the century? Oh, before, because I mean he was a established great drama critic by the 1880s. Oh, was he? By 1880s he was? So this is -- He's -- [amazingly?] to say just after a very short time in London to say that he felt all those things would be. But when he got there he found everything so unutterably false that to be right, one had only to contradict. What's the phrase he used on leaving Dublin for London? Well, he said -- this is in fact how we use a lot of that, of his own writings on that to introduce the show so that the audience will have an opportunity of seeing a slight piece of the background of the young man. He's -- he was working in a small real estate agency and his letter of resignation shows us a lot, when he said he was giving them a month's notice, and he says the reason he was leaving for employment was because "I object to receiving a salary for which I give no adequate value." But he said to them, "If I had gone to the hills nearby to look back upon Dublin and ponder upon myself, I might have become a poet like Yeats or Singh and the rest and sang sad songs upon the state of life. Though I was intensely proud of being Irish, I was a very bad Irishman in the Sinn Fein or a chosen people sense. I knew my destiny was to be a good European in the Nietzschean sense. I could not stay there dreaming my life away on the Irish hills. England had conquered Ireland, so there was nothing for it but to go over and conquer England." What did you -- I think, I listened to you. We heard Shaw's voice and it was badly reproduced, it was 1937 an old recording, but you caught the flavor. You heard his -- you los -- you also I suppose you just drowned yourself in his writings and letters, didn't you? There was as regards the -- there's a very, as you could hear at the beginning of those old recordings, the marvelously seductive cadence and flow to -- now, of course we've only got tapes and recordings, film of the old Shaw, and there is no way one can present any form of impersonation the younger Shaw, there is no -- so one has to work back. There are great descriptions of this young man. So you do him as a younger Shaw becoming old? Yes. The first half we take him as it were from Dublin to London. So this is about, he's about 20. Yes. And this is about 1870. Around there. Yes, and we took him through when he became a public speaker, trained himself because he was a nervous wreck when he attempted it first, and desperately shy. And he built himself into arguably one of the greatest orators and debaters in the world. We take him through that period. We take him into journalism, into became the musical critic, he became the drama critic, appointed by Frank Harris incidentally, who was editor of "The Saturday Review", and through his relations with the ladies, his lady loves, on paper and off paper. And was it ever, was it ever off paper? I mean, this is one of the questions always, wasn't Shaw always the spiritual lover? Was there ever actual? Not that it matters too much, but. Yes, he had actually recorded the night that he lost his virginity. Which was with Mrs. Jenny Peterson, who was a widow lady in a very rather elegant way. The entry in the diary is "Went to visit Jenny at Brompton Square and stayed there until three o'clock this morning, on my 29th birthday, which I celebrated with a new experience." We come to Shaw though, forget so many -- so gifted. He was a brilliant music critic. He was a brilliant drama critic, he's the one who he first discovered Ibsen, didn't he? I mean, or he's the one who -- Promoted him. Made him, promoted Ibsen I should say. Oh, tremendous. Had him done in drawing rooms, and it was a great -- Ibsen was one of his great -- 'Cause Ibsen was under attack by some of the more traditional critics, [it was Shaw?] and he was a fantastic music critic. Well you see, he is saying about you know because of the theatre of the time which was of course how to please and they still say, you still hear people say, "My first duty is to entertain the audience and give the people what they want," and Shaw used to say, "I will not give the people what they want. I'll give them what's good for them." And his early plays as you know were banned, and he had to wait for years for them to be produced. I think "Mrs. Warren's Profession" took an incredible 22 years before its London production. Before that, it had already been done in Austria and Germany. You are GBS, and you're -- at the same time as involved with theater and with music, there is -- he doesn't associate that from the other aspects of the world, from politics, from life, he's, he connects them all. All related. He's a great, great crusader in areas that you know, that have gone and been forgotten. For instance, when he arrived in London, flogging was normal punishment in the forces, which appalled him. He could not bear cruelty of any nature, and all through his life railed against it. He took that as a cause. He went across England with his lecture "Flogging as a Punishment". And in little towns it was "Tonight", Bernard Shaw, "Flogging as a Punishment". I think it's in the American's book, well, he wrote three books, but the autobiography by Archibald Henderson. there's a story there of someone who saw him in a Yorkshire, small Yorkshire town, small village hall winter's night giving his lecture crusading and he always left a long time, an hour or so if, for a question and answer which he was beginning to love. And after his lecture that night, this man arose in the audience and identified himself as an ex-chaplain in his Majesty's forces, and said to Shaw, "As chaplain in the forces I have had to attend many courts-martial. Would it interest Mr. Shaw to know that on many occasions prisoners have requested flogging rather than incarceration?" And Shaw said, "Ah, I see. Well, I must draw the reverend gentleman's attention to the title of my lecture, which is 'Flogging as a Punishment,' not 'Flogging as a Luxury.'" Oh, boy. Yeah. Isn't that, so he -- That was it. All these crusades, he was in so many, and the last -- not the last [values?], but the last really atrocious legalized piece of savagery on imperial level was the -- Denshawai, which inadvertently gave rise to the young -- again produced the young Sadat, who mentions it in his memoirs. Denshawai was really the most appalling thing that happened in an Egyptian village, which kind of pigeon farmers, and these English officers and went out one Saturday morning. Although they'd been, everyone had been told many times, just don't, it's like shooting a farmer's chickens or hens. And they went out and started shooting the pigeons, and the villagers went berserk, and there was great chaos. And in the midst of which a gun went off and nicked one of the Egyptian wives just slightly in her buttock. The people went screaming, the officers became panic-stricken. One of them they told to run, and this is in the noonday sun, to run like mad for help. And he fled and collapsed and died some miles away from the sun and his heart and everything. Incredibly, they -- about 12 of the villagers were charged with murder, and they I think they were all flogged and seven I think were hanged in the village, and the rest were flogged and put in sentences from five to 10 years in jail. He took that cause, Denshawai, he fought it through and through to cabinet level. People -- newspapers, the conservative press, which predominantly conservative press, ignored him. The only time "The Daily Mail" ever mentioned it was to make a joke where he called the Denshawai villagers Denshavians. Affectionately. And he won through, and he got the people released, and this is a letter to some very concerned people in Egypt. His last letter says, "This is as far as I can go. I have the minister's guarantee that they will all be released and home in their village by Christmas. The hanged can't be unhung, and the flogged can't be deflogged, but this is as much as I can do." He was always there. War, since we heard him on war at the beginning. He had a suggestion. You as Bernard Shaw I think offer it during your evening of --. Oh, that's about -- this is, even within that [seriousness?] for that war speech, he could never resist this humourous anticlimax which he said he got from his father. This gift of anticlimax which he said was unconscious in his writing. It just came. But he's saying, "If nations had any sense, they would begin a war by sending their oldest men into the trenches. In 1914 it was a dreadful thing to see regiments of young lads singing 'Tipperary' on their way to the slaughterhouse. But the spectacle of regiments of octogenarians hobbling to the front waving their walking sticks and piping up to the tune of 'We'll never come back no more, boys, we'll never come back no more,' wouldn't you cheer that enthusiastically? I would." That's marvelous. That's true. There he was, and the old winter jing-- the young and -- he always had, in the midst of his passionate, you know his polemics, not against individuals, that's the point, but against institutions and the stupidity -- Attitudes and He, he would always have humor, too. But on this matter of debates, he was never personal. He never injured people individually, he was, it was the idea. Yes, and could never understand, you know somebody who after a rather intense debate would have nothing more to do with him. I think it was [disingenerving?], he said I, "Doesn't he understand that we were debating issues here?" He held onto Wells for a long time. Wells used to get very hysterical apparently and you know those letters to him saying, "No, you're not going to lose my friendship. You can take my good manners, but you're not going to lose my --" "You're not going to lose my friendship." I'm looking for another -- oh, here it is. This is the one. I wish you would read this. This is from Stanley Weintraub, a Shavian scholar. It's Shaw's letters, many letters between the years of 1914-18 during the war, the hor-- World War One that so affected England far more than us. England, it was -- they speak of the war, the Great War, the World War One, and his friend Mrs. Patrick Campbell the actress. Yes. Who, whom, with whom he's very close, loses a son. Her son was killed in the war. And Barrie, J.M. Barrie wrote to her how sad he was for her ordeal, but she should be proud. He died with honor and she should hold her head up high. You know, Stella Campbell, and Shaw writes a letter about that. Why don't you read that? That was, yes, on top of the Barrie letter, that's -- and then she wrote to Shaw saying that she received from the clergyman, the chaplain in her son's unit a letter which she was saying is it says here "full of tragic gentleness and praise of my brave son." Well you see Shaw, this whole thing took Shaw by surprise and he was so staggered and shocked and again this senseless carnage and lots of young lives, and his letter which I'll read from your book here to Mrs. Pat: "Never saw it or heard about it until your letter came. It's no use. I can't be sympathetic. These things simply make me furious. I want to swear. I do swear. Killed just because people are blasted fools. A chaplain, too, to say nice things about it. It is not his business to say nice things about it, but to shout, shout that the voice of thy son's blood cryeth unto God from the ground. To hell with your chaplain and his tragic gentleness. The next shell will perhaps blow him to bits, and some other chaplain will write such a nice letter to his mother. Such nice letters. Such nice little notices in the papers. Gratifying, isn't it? Consoling. It only needs a letter from the king to make me feel that the shell was a blessing in disguise. No, don't show me the letter, but I should very much like to have a nice talk with that dear chaplain. That sweet sky pilot, that -- no use going on like this, Stella. Wait for a week. Then I shall be very clever and broad-minded again and have forgotten all about him. I shall be quite as nice as the chaplain. Oh, damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn!" Boy, well, that's something, isn't it? He didn't fool around, did he? No. You know, this is -- see, you do Shaw, as you say there's so much of him that you can't capture all of him, so in this evening it is the young, the young, well curiosity person. He's everything. He came to London. What? To be -- to write? What was his He came to London and he tried his hand at different jobs just to make a living, because he when he was writing about a period at a very young age, I think at 25 he was writing about the 20-year-old period, and he said, "I knew I was a born writer and I knew how to wait for success in literature. But I did not know how to live on air in the interim. At first, I prepared to enter the civil service, but as I was neither a linguist not a mathematician, I had to study for a small berth. Then a friend of my mother's, who was musical critic to a weekly paper, offered me the emoluments of the post if I would discharge under his name its duties. I immediately threw up my studies and set to work to reform the musical profession. At the end of a year, my friend was one of the most unpopular men in London." He ghosted for him -- Destroyed him! This was Shaw, and then he became what? Music critic, drama, and now by this time his reputation, because what is everything, his style, his, his insights. Yes, and you see that we've got to remember just where we're saying at the very beginning just how -- what opposition he had, when you've got the bulk of the media doing their very, very best to misrepresent you because they want what you say not to be heeded, because it was the antithesis of everything that it stood for. Now we were talking about that earlier when we were chatting before the program, the Don Juan piece. Can you -- can you even to this day, can you imagine the bourgeois society or the establishmentarians entrenched establishmentarians facing even to this day? I think what Donal Donnelly is talking about is a, is a portrait I have hanging on the wall of my ramshackle, disheveled, wretched-looking office, so everything, but on the wall is a picture of Shaw and this quote from "Don Juan in Hell". Well, you could -- we'll set the scene for this. This is, I think this is Don Juan talking. And they're talking about middle -- a society of established, respectable law-abiding people, and Shaw -- well Don Juan -- Shaw through Don Juan is offering his view. It is of the, it is that entrenched, smug society, a society of manners and of postures and devoid of the feelings which Shaw, you know, felt was so essential if anything was going to be done for the mass of the people. "Your friends are the dullest dogs I know. They are not beautiful. They are only decorated. They are not clean. They are only shaved and starched. They are not dignified. They are only fashionably dressed. They are not educated. They are only college passmen. They are not religious. They are only pew [renters?]. They are not moral, they are only conventional. They are not virtuous, they are only cowardly. They are not even vicious. They are only frail. They are not artistic. They are only lascivious. They are not prosperous. They are only rich. They are not loyal, they are only servile. Not dutiful, only sheepish. Not public-spirited, only patriotic. Not courageous, only quarrelsome. Not determined, only obstinate. Not masterful, only domineering. Not self-controlled, only obtuse. Not self-respecting, only vain. Not kind, only sentimental. Not social, only gregarious. Not considerate, only polite. Not intelligent, only opinionated. Not progressive, only factious. Not imaginative, only superstitious. Not just only vindictive, not disciplined, only cowed. And not truthful at all. Liars, every one of them, to the very backbone of their souls." Boy, what a devastating, what he would do, wouldn't he? He just acts -- Shaw didn't -- Leave not a shred [unintelligible] When he, you see, here it is. He was gentle as a person I'm told, and by Dame Sybil Thorndike in the last years of her life was remembering Shaw. It was during a conversation. Her moment when she was doing "St. Joan", 'cause he wrote it for her, and she, "He was so gentle, and compa-- and to the actors kind, he'd read all parts of course beautifully, but it's the hypocrisy and the brutishness that he hated. Yes. Was

Donal Donnelly Yes, that was the thing. You keep hearing of this kindness. I mean, on -- you know, J.B. Priestley had a wonderful tribute to him. Again he hits about the kindness, he said, "He is without doubt the most immensely kind man on this planet." He said, "He is a prophet on an ancient plan. He comes striding out of the desert to warn us that God is not mocked."

Studs Terkel That God is not mocked.

Donal Donnelly Einstein, who I have to paraphrase just from my memory on his 90th birthday Einstein sent him a message. And very close paraphrase was "You have shown us the true moral path by a way that have led so many of us to the gallows."

Studs Terkel "That have led so many of us to the gallows."

Donal Donnelly "So many of us to the

Studs Terkel The dissenters, the questioners. those who challenge the establishment.

Donal Donnelly It says a lot, and on one -- the people have made this observation before, going back into those [times?], it says a lot for the society albeit that they resented him deeply, the establishment. That he was able to the ripe age of 94 to take them in-- impressively to task at such a rate because there is no doubt about it, I mean that one can just think of so many countries where the man would have disappeared without trace.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Donal Donnelly You know.

Studs Terkel Yeah, this is a tribute to the at least to that aspect, to the open society. Yeah, that there was Shaw and of course his humor too was a saving

Donal Donnelly Saving!

Studs Terkel Grace throughout. You said he was a -- suppose we take a slight pause now, return with Donal, this matter of Shaw the moralist. Einstein said to him, "You were a moralist," and showing what morality really is, and we're talking about Shaw and what you offer, Shaw and women's suffrage, women, women's movement, I suppose. War of course. Labor

Donal Donnelly Poverty.

Studs Terkel Poverty. Eight-hour day. [Used to be?] four-hour day in 1937. Education. So many things. We'll come to this with Donal Donnelly, who is George Bernard Shaw and opening tonight at the St. Nicholas Theatre, St. Nicholas Theatre on

Unidentified Woman 2851 North

Studs Terkel Twenty-eight fifty-one North Halsted, I should have known that. It's on Wednesdays through Sundays and twice on Sundays, this week and also next week from Wednesdays through Sundays through July 2nd, and of this more in a moment with Donal Donnelly, he's quite remarkable as GBS. [pause in recording] And so we're resuming again, I about to say with a conversation with Bernard Shaw, it amounts to that, because in a sense you become -- by the way, the reviews have been phenomenal out east where you've done it. The -- you become Bernard Shaw, the younger and the older one. So what other aspect -- now he's established, and now you have him also writing plays, too?

Donal Donnelly Yes. And also had become this, as I say this great art-- I think one ought to just dwell for a moment on his poverty crusade. When we played -- we played in Hong Kong. And that's interesting, Studs, when you see

Studs Terkel -- Did

Donal Donnelly Yeah, and I had never been to Hong Kong. And this will show you how relevant and how important he is still. We landed in Hong Kong and we weren't going to even start setting up our rehearsal. We had two days to get over the journey and there was a kind of a cocktail party from the colonials, which I don't use in any slight way because they call themselves colonials, and they refer to Hong Kong as the colony. These are the ex -- the rulers in fact. There's this very elderly lady, who was saying, "Well, I don't really know who's going to go to the show, you see, because in this ghastly weather, I mean anybody who's anybody has got out of the place, and all that's left is the Chinese, and of course they won't know what you're talking about." This old lady said. So I mean,, I thought, well that's great, she tells me everyone is gone and the vast majority of the population are not going to have any interest whatsoever.

Studs Terkel Well, they're Chinese, they're illiterates.

Donal Donnelly This was the implication. Well, in fact it was tremendous there, and the vast majority of the audience were Chinese, and the majority of that majority were young Chinese. Now following that, we had a farewell lunch with the deputy mayor, the deputy chairman I think he's called there of the council that was Chinese, a man with a wonderful name of Darwin Chan, and in the course of the luncheon he informed me that the entire published works of Shaw were printed in Mandarin and Cantonese. Now, it just is, it's an interesting story, that, because there's that entrenched woman who'd been there all her life as the natural ruler

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Donal Donnelly Blind and immune to any conceivable kind of change of opinion or anything else. So one can only guess at what it was like back in the days we're talking when Shaw

Studs Terkel So when Shaw offered that, when a Don Juan

Donal Donnelly [Making it

Studs Terkel When Don Juan is speaking of that, he's speaking of this woman, of this kind of person.

Donal Donnelly Absolutely.

Studs Terkel What was the reaction of the young students, of the young

Donal Donnelly Oh, it was very stimulating, and the, the leading critic there in "The South China Post" ended his review about walking home from the theatre and contemplating on how tragically relevant that GBS was, Bernard Shaw was today. He said, "When one thinks on the conditions against which he railed in the 1880s which are so prevalent in Hong Kong today." Was the end of his review. His theme was always, you see, which he played upon so much that modern poverty was not the poverty that was blessed in the Sermon on the Mount,' and that opens one of the poverty speech I use in the show in which he opens that way. He says, "Modern poverty is not the poverty that was blessed in the Sermon on the Mount, and with what stupid levity we tolerate it, as if it were a wholesome tonic for lazy people, or a virtue to be embraced as St Francis embraced it. If a man is indolent, let him be poor. If he is drunken, let him be poor. If he is not a gentleman, let him be poor. If he is addicted to fine arts or to pure science instead of to trade and finance, let him be poor. Let nothing be done for the undeserving. Let them be poor, and somewhat inconsistently, blessed are the poor."

Studs Terkel He's really

Donal Donnelly He's into poverty today, he says degrades the poor, and infects with its degradation. Everything.

Studs Terkel He hit -- it's funny. We heard his voice at the beginning in 1937 how appropriate now. He speaks of a possible other war with more technology. He sees all that, that was '37 you see, and then as he spoke -- I say speaks, present tense, because what he says is so pertinent, is so now, and because he was prescient. I suppose someone like Shaw is always prophetic, isn't he?

Donal Donnelly Well, I found with the younger, the students in most centres we played, we've, that's been the most encouraging thing about this, because it isn't an evening for exclusively for Shavians, or for people that studying Shaw, for people interested in even the plays of Shaw. We have got people who -- their knowledge of Shaw was that he wrote the play upon which "My Fair Lady" was -- that was the extent, because it, it's, we mean it as an introduction on the human side of the man to a very extraordinary man, to what I think is a real genius. By the way, this is which we take again this wonderful ego of his, we take our title from that. You know, "My Astonishing Self".

Studs Terkel Oh, it's called "My Astonishing Self".

Donal Donnelly It's called "My Astonishing Self". And that's when he was asked point-blank about did he consider himself a genius, and he was saying that Owen Meredith, the first Earl of Lytton proclaimed, "Genius is master of the man. Genius does what it must. Talent does what it can." And he said, "Certainly in spite of slavery, serfdom, and proletarianism, Ancient Greece produced Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes and Euripides, Italy produced Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, England produced Shakespeare, Germany Goethe, Norway Ibsen, and Ireland produced 'My Astonishing Self'."

Studs Terkel Well, it was true! There's one he's talking about this damning war and the waste and the horror, and he says, "Who knows" -- it's in one of his letters or one of his essays somewhere, "Who knows what these young men who were killed might have been? They might have been, we've lost a good carpenter," it's perhaps in this book, lost good carpenters

Donal Donnelly No, it's in that -- it's a development in that war speech, you're quite right. It's where -- you're dead right, he's saying "I dislike war not only for its dangers and inconvenience, but because of the death of so many young men, among whom maybe a Newton, an Einstein, a Beethoven, a Michelangelo, a Shakespeare, or even a Bernard Shaw." He put himself in great company,

Studs Terkel That's

Donal Donnelly The best is like when they said about "Saint Joan" that he had been so impartial and fair in his, in the debate within "Joan" to each side, and had been particularly fair to Mother Church. He said that many people asked him, "Was he thinking of turning Catholic?" "Oh, no," he said, "There's no room in the Roman Catholic Church for two popes."

Studs Terkel I also, there was a newsreel, every now and then it showed the newsreel, he's on a boat coming to America or leaving, and he's got his knickers on, with his knickers and his cap, and the cameramen are there, and the journalist asked him what advice for America, how did that go again?

Donal Donnelly "Do you have any advice to give us, Mr. Shaw?" This is the older Shaw, he had been before of course, and that's a marvelous thing to look at, the energy of the man there is wonderful, he's hopping around that boat, full of beans.

Studs Terkel He's about, he's in his 80s then

Donal Donnelly And he says, "It's no good asking me for advice," he says about America. "I was here 19 years ago and I told you what to do about America, but none of you paid the slightest attention to me, and it's too late and that's why you're in the position you're in." I'm sure it's in stocks here, it's very funny to see him in full spate.

Studs Terkel So there -- so you then are Shaw, the early days, the positions he takes, against poverty, against imperialism, against war, and so also he was interested in the woman question, what was called the woman question. [Making news?]. Always

Donal Donnelly Well, Annie Besant and all these marvelous women were his great friends, and look within his own, his drama. I mean, even what he has --did for the female character. In person. I mean

Studs Terkel Whether Saint Joan or Candida

Donal Donnelly As early as that putting these women on who were not especially just equal to the man mentally but quite capable of running rings around him. Yeah. Well, in the latter's end of the show when we move, we keep moving to the personal. We deal with you know the death of Charlotte, then the man alone without his wife. Reminiscing about acquaintances like Frank Harris; this is all when he's alone, and we bring it -- we end it. The BBC invited him to speak to the nation on his 90th birthday on television, which is in existence, too, and it's towards the end of that that you see the words being misused, which is of course it's sad to see the finger of senility touching anybody in that respect on the mind, but to see this colossal mind is, it's a profoundly moving [interplay?].

Studs Terkel It was -- so you do that. You mean his words, there was a slipping here and there, couldn't choose the right word.

Donal Donnelly Grabbing for words, and he -- this from a normally very articulate [unintelligible] person.

Studs Terkel Ninety-four.

Donal Donnelly There's a scene that when I open in Dublin first I didn't end there, because I would -- came back to, he had this great correspondence with this nun too, all through his life, Sister Laurentia, and one of the last letters he wrote when he was dying was to her. And if I can recall, it might be nice to say it now, because we don't use it, but this -- that used to be the end, and it's terrific, it's the -- there's the acceptance of the desire to go, to shuffle off the mortal coil, you know, and there's also the little Shaw thing at the end, you know. He's telling her first about how he manages and getting about with a stick a bit and still gets out into the garden a bit, and it's -- changes quite suddenly and he says, "If only I could die. This is such a waste of time, a waste of food, a waste of attention. God has promised his servant Laurentia that he will do his best for me. But if he starts giving me marks for my performance down here, there's going to be serious trouble between us."

Studs Terkel Ninety-four. I was thinking back in 1937 again, how old would he have been in '37 when he made that BBC speech during the Spanish Civil War?

Donal Donnelly Mathematically hopeless. I am

Studs Terkel -- But he was

Donal Donnelly Fifty-four

Studs Terkel Yeah, so this is

Donal Donnelly I leave it to you,

Studs Terkel Ninety-four 1950. Yeah, so he was 80-something; 37 yeah, well, just about 80. So I was thinking perhaps we hear his voice, if he can hear his voice here toward the end of the speech in '37.

Donal Donnelly Of the war

Studs Terkel Yeah, about war again, he's talking about it.

George Bernard Shaw The very first lesson of the new history dug up as far as by Professor Flinders Petree during my lifetime is that no civilization, however splendid, illustrious and like our own, can stand up against the social resentments and class conflicts which follow a silly misdistribution of wealth, labour and leisure, and it is the one history lesson that is never taught in our schools, thus confirming the saying of the German philosopher Hegel, 'We learn from history that men never learn anything from history,' think it over. So long, so long.

Studs Terkel In hearing that, there's Shaw's -- well, it's not cynicism, he's far from that, but what? It's not despair either, it's just -- he says we learn and yet we don't learn.

Donal Donnelly Michael Billington, who is a very eminent critic of "The Guardian" in England in London, and he firmly believed that there was -- he was all the more remarkable and courageous because that he was intrinsically very pessimistic about our outlook, about our future. Like the quotation of the Hegel there, and when he talks during that speech too about "a war of nations will not put an end to civilisation. It may leave England as primitive as she was when Julius Caesar landed in Kent. Perhaps we should be happier then, for we are still savages at heart, and wear our thin uniform of civilization very awkwardly."

Studs Terkel Yet here as though he was pessimistic that always trying was there, that he was embattled in the idea that man -- that we could behave better than we're behaving, that people were capable of behaving better than they're behaving.

Donal Donnelly That was a firm but and he -- like when he said he wanted so much the opportunity for people to fulfill their own potential, and he declared once with great celebration, "I have achieved the upright posture of the soul, and I am as excited about it as the first monkey that achieved the upright posture of the body." Well, he wanted that for us, he wanted every man and woman to have that opportunity. That belief like [in?] the ever-changing the life force. Which is why he -- there's a wonderful conversation that somebody reported to people whose names I can't remember who they were, but one of them in the course of conversation said, "Oh, well, GBS, who is an atheist like myself," and he said, "What? Who? How do you call me an atheist?" he says. "How would you define atheist? I mean," he said, "Here have I been advocating and declaring the Life Force for decades," and the other chap says, "Not at all. GBS is not an atheist, he's an agnostic like me." He said, "I certainly am not an agnostic like you! An agnostic," he says, "What is an agnostic but an atheist without the courage of his conviction?" So he had the, his famous Life Force thing, that we would achieve

Studs Terkel You mentioned "Life Force," that was a phrase that he

Donal Donnelly You see it cut through his work, you know, in well, now, it's so long since I read it, but there's a speech, I remember writing it down on the theme very close to what we're talking about, when the tired Caesar is saying, and look how it desperately true it is to this very day. "Murder begets murder, and always in the cause of honor and peace and justice. And so it will continue until the gods grow tired of blood and breed a race of better men."

Studs Terkel He saw the stupidities of war throughout, and his will it ever be? Will we ever learn, you see. On the subject of learning, by the way, Shaw, and you spoke about man, better -- in the matter of education and books, he was the guy who thought of paperback books.

Donal Donnelly Well, I never knew

Studs Terkel Allen Lane, Penguin Press. You know these little books that came out in paper? That's from Shaw. Allen Lane. We happened to my publisher and that's how I know. In London, Penguin, Allen Lane knew Shaw, and Shaw suggested the idea for working people of books for working, which they could pay -- a book for pennies.

Donal Donnelly So you wouldn't have a prohibitive pricing

Studs Terkel No, a few pennies. Yeah. And so the paperback books that we read today as a result of Shaw's thoughts.

Donal Donnelly I never knew that.

Studs Terkel Isn't that interesting? See, in so many things, that's the whole point. He was -- so penology, women's rights, oh, didn't he do a book, of "Women's Guide to Socialism"?

Donal Donnelly Oh, that's a big work. "The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism". That's a very big [tome? dome?] altogether.

Studs Terkel So in your Shaw then it's his personal plus social.

Donal Donnelly The vast range of cover -- you know, and I don't -- I'm not sure, I hope in the St. Nicholas program we use it, but I took a tribute from [St. John?] Irving, a contemporary critic, a playwright, who was by no means concurred with Shaw politically, but was a, became a great, great friend, and I use that to set the -- to just convey in flavour and texture of what we're just trying to convey elements of this -- of a genius I think. This is written by [St. John?] Irving in 1956, six years after the death of GBS. "The life of a man who lived for more than 94 years and was not only world-renowned as a dramatist who had written about 50 plays in addition to other works, but had a brilliant -- was a brilliant musical critic, an even more brilliant dramatic critic, a critic of books, a critic of painting, and also extensively and influentially engaged in political affairs of an advanced and revolutionary character, cannot be compressed into a small space. The fact that he was a founder of the Labour Party is sufficient in itself to show how varied and extensive his life was. I knew GBS intimately for more than 40 years. Few things in my life have given me so much happiness as the friendship of Bernard and Charlotte Shaw, and I find myself bereft without them. Their kindness and his in particular was beyond measure. Nor was it diminished by the fact that I did not share their views, especially on politics. Of all the men I have known in my life, none was so full of grace of mind and spirit as GBS. His influence on his own age was immense, on those who railed against him no less than on those who clapped their hands. He was generous and kind and compassionate and he had a deep love of social order, which forbade him to tolerate poverty and maimed lives and curable distress. He served his country faithfully to the full extent of his great ability, and when he died he left all he had owned for a public purpose. Considerate of others, he sought no consideration for himself, but took with courage and fortitude the blows he had to bear. Prompt with help for those who needed it, he took no help himself, but fought his fight cleanly and courageously. He sometimes lacked wisdom, but he never lacked charity, and when he gave he gave without reproach or condescension. His heart was large. It contained multitudes. His courage, his candor, his unfailing faith and his fearless announcement of the truth as he saw it made him a beacon in a time of intellectual darkness, and that flame still brightly flares."

Studs Terkel That's beautiful. Someone who was not agreeing with him on all occasions

Donal Donnelly Certainly not.

Studs Terkel Disagreed more often than not. So it was Shaw, he was the highly charitable man at the point -- I suppose the word, much overused word "compassionate" in the true sense was Shaw, so there's -- you know what? Why he's important today more than ever? We equate in a time of midgets, we equate wit with a kind of cynicism, with a kind of put down of others, that's wit. You know, William Buckley, Jr., his wit. Whereas Shaw shows that wit can be highly compassionate. You know, that wit and sentiment, not sentimentality, wit and sentiment are one.

Donal Donnelly Yes. Yes. Indeed, it was never, it was never a surface. I mean, it was just, there was never a surface wit. You know, on the -- it was, he was never really dealing on the perimeter of things, on the perimeter of life. You know, whatever he was doing a thing seemed to be somehow very organically related to the very kernel.

Studs Terkel You used the word "organically." That's interesting, it's -- see, Frank Lloyd Wright the architect always used the word "organic," that has to be from the bottom up, the root, organic, so everything has -- it's all one. Organic, and so what Shaw did, whether it's theater, whether it's music related to life, related to people listening and people watching and it's not something -- and never art for art's sake. It's something related to the world, always was there, wasn't it?

Donal Donnelly And his drama, you know, he was massacred at the beginning by critics and rejected and called a pamphleteer by -- it was the, they kept calling him this pamphleteer, you know, propagandist, get him off the stage, and of course he'd drive them crazy by thanking them for their [seat?], said it was wonderful, that he, just what he was doing, he said, "Remember, I'm out to convert. That's my mission, to convert." And I forget who said that he didn't -- he didn't like Ibsen change forever the form of drama. But he did forever change the content.

Studs Terkel Yeah. 'Cause here Ibsen was attacked also of being a propagandist. And even today, Ibsen, you know there's someone who knows you of course, Harold Clurman, who is one of our most thoughtful and distinguished and most passionate of drama critics, of course loves Ibsen very much and Shaw for the same reason Shaw did, too, and he's very contemporary, as is Shaw contemporary. What's one -- oh, he was also a letter writer, he would write letters, wouldn't he in the early days, letters to editors under so many assumed names?

Donal Donnelly And he's famous, he's famous -- postcards. You know then, right on the bottom of letters, they're so many in existence of the hand in the red ink. You know. I think it's lovely that the lady, Lady Such-and-Such from [Knight Street?] somewhere sent gilt-edged invitation through the post, you know, "Lady Knocks-Doggery will be at home from four p.m. to seven p.m. on February 21st," and it's in existence, and written underneath in red ink and sent back to her is, "And so will Mr. Bernard Shaw." These have [unintelligible], there's loads of these things.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking of, this is, a [favorite?] Nelson Algren, the writer, the novelist, Nelson Algren once [received?] from a former friend of his who became very -- this woman became very posh in her life, says, "We are at home, [unintelligible], at home, Bucks County, Pennsylvania." He says, he writes back, "Nelson Algren at home, 1958 West Evergreen." What is, what is a thought of Shaw? You're now Bernard Shaw. Before we say goodbye for now, and just to remind the audience opening tonight my guest Donal Donnelly is George Bernard Shaw, and it's quite an evening. Open tonight at the St. Nicholas Theatre, and that'll be tonight through this week, well, through July 2nd Wednesdays through Sundays, both weeks, and twice on Sundays, and what is something Shaw, Shavian, for a goodbye -- some farewell, some thought.

Donal Donnelly Well, something that quite surprises audiences is his very revealing and very compassionate analysis of Christ as he sees Him, as he reads Him, and it's towards the end of the speech of Christianity. "Now Jesus was from the point of view of the high priests a heretic and an impostor. From the point of view of the merchants, He was a rioter and a communist. From the Roman Imperialist point of view, He was a dangerous madman. From the snobbish point of view, always a very influential one, He was a penniless vagrant. From the point of view of the pious, He was a Sabbath-breaker, a denigrator of the efficacy of circumcision, the advocate of a strange rite of baptism, a gluttonous man and a wine bibber. He was abhorrent to the medical profession as a non-qualified practitioner who healed people and charged nothing for the treatment. He was against the priests, the judiciary, the merchants, the interested classes, principalities, and powers. He invited everyone to abandon all these and follow Him. By every argument, legal, political, religious, customary, and polite, He was the most complete enemy of society ever brought to the bar. It can be argued that Christianity died on the cross with Him."

Studs Terkel Wow. That's Bernard Shaw, and that's Donal Donnelly, and that should be quite an evening for the next two weeks. Thank you very much.

Donal Donnelly Thank you, Studs.