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by Peter Colley

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CANDIDA a comedy classic by Bernard Shaw

Bernard Shaw had two categories for his plays, those that were “pleasant” and those that were “unpleasant”. CANDIDA he put among the pleasant ones, and it is easy to see why. A box office hit in its time (1904), this British classic continues to be one of Shaw's most popular plays. It deals with a young poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who falls madly in love with Candida, the wife of a respected pastor in London. Eugene is horrified by what he considers to be the mundane life that Candida is forced to lead with her husband, the Reverend James Morell. Eugene confronts Morell, declaring his love for Candida and claiming that the pastor does not deserve such a charming, magnificent wife. What follows is a marriage in crisis, as the couple's comfortable life begins to fall apart, and Candida is forced by the two men to choose between them. Along the way, Shaw makes some witty observations about love, the institution of marriage, the treatment of women in society and the age-old problem of having to choose between the ideal and the practical. Although more than a hundred years have passed since people first saw the play, the story still rings true and the jokes are still as funny as ever.