At the turn of the 20th century, the Victorian world of rigid rules and manners offered no help to a poor woman who wanted to better her situation. George Bernard Shaw, one of the centurys greatest social critics (not to mention best writers), wrote Mrs. Warrens Profession, he later said, so the hoity-toity would know that: As long as poverty makes virtue hideous and the spare pocket-money of rich bachelordom makes vice dazzling, their daily hand-to-hand fight against prostitution with prayer and persuasion, shelters and scanty alms, will be a losing one. The play focuses on the relationship between a mother who made her fortune in the naughty business and the well-educated daughter she raised with the money she made. When the daughter finds out how she got her fancy-pants boarding school education, all hell breaks loose. As one of Shaws most often performed works, the story about a smart, wealthy prostitute challenges our ideas about morality and social structures.
The play opens today with a free Mix & Mingle party before the show for ticket holders (cocktails and appetizers at the Lancaster Hotel across the street from the theater). Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Through February 1. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit www.alleytheatre.org. $21 to $60. (The preview performance on January 10 is pay-what-you-can, $10 and up.)
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 9. Continues through Feb. 1, 2009