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Details of Pygmalion and the Ticket Luck value
Pygmalion is G. Bernard Shaw's comic play, written in 1912 and first staged in English in 1914. It is also the basis for the musical comedy and film My Fair Lady. The play was claimed by its author to be a didactic play about phonetics; but it also deals with issues of class and social power.
It is the story of the super-efficient Professor Higgins, an expert on languages and dialects who takes Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney waif, under his wing on a bet. The bet is that he can't teach her to speak proper English with an upper-class accent to the point where she is mistaken for a member of the upper crust. He first meets her while she is selling flowers outside the opera and he is standing there like a know-it-all identifying everyone's place of birth by their accent.
He also meets Colonel Pickering, an amateur linguist in his own right, who quickly befriends the awkward professor. The two of them journey to Higgins' lab, where he astounds the older man with his gadgets and research. The two of them end up making the bet, and Eliza is brought to them. The three of them become quite a team, with Pickering attempting to tone down Higgins' abrasive manner while they both struggle with Eliza's slow learning (and with the fact that Higgins doesn't treat her like a human being). He tests her out on his family and friends first, and then it's off to a society ball where she must convince the crowned heads of England that she's anything but a Cockney flower girl. In the process, he becomes fond of her and attempts to direct her future, but she rejects his domineering ways and marries a young but poor man of the genteel class, Freddy Eynsford-Hill.
Shaw completed Pygmalion and later that same year it was translated into German. This is important because the very first performance was played by English actors in Vienna, Austria, with none other than Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. Pygmalion opened at the Hofburg Theatre on October 16, 1913, however it was moved to England, with the same cast; Mrs Patrick Campbell as Eliza and Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Henry Higgins, and opened there, on April 11, 1914 at His Majesty's Theatre. Directed by Shaw himself this was the first time his Pygmalion was performed in English.
The play is based on the classical legend from Ovid's Metamorphoses about Pygmalion, who falls in love with his own sculpture, Galatea. In the myth, Venus/Aphrodite gives life to the statue. It's a comedy that's all about class and human relationships and exposes the power politics between Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins. Why did you take my independence from me? Why did I give it up? I'm a slave now, for all my fine clothes, opines Eliza after Higgins has transformed her into a lady, taking her away from her flower-selling and leaving her with nothing to sell but herself. When Eliza finally defies Higgins and reasserts her independence (I'm not afraid of you and can do without you), Higgins is impressed: By George, Eliza, I said I'd make a woman of you; and I have...Now you're a tower of strength: a consort battleship. With few of the romantic implications at the end of My Fair Lady, Shaw's play ends, more radically, with Eliza's self-assertion.
Apart from My Fair Lady, many television references have also been made to Shaw's Pygmalion. Will and Grace referenced the title in the four part episode Fagmalion in which Will and Jack make-over newly queer Barry. The Simpsons referenced the title in the episode Pygmoelian in which Moe Szyslak has cosmetic surgery in order to be socially accepted.
The show also made reference to Pygmalion in the episode My Fair Laddy where Lisa Simpson turns Groundskeeper Willie into a proper gentleman after betting her brother Bart Simpson that she can turn Willie into a proper gentleman by the school science fair. In Family Guy reference to Pygmalion is made in the episode One If by Clam, Two If by Sea when Stewie Griffin attempts to turn a little Cockney-accented English girl named Eliza Pinchley into a proper lady.