Major Barbara



  • A play by George Bernard Shaw, first performed atthe Royal Court Theatre in 1905. In a 1956 revival at the Martin BeckTheatre, New York, Charles Laughton both directed and played the roleof Andrew Undershaft.

    The story involves a rich munitions manufacturer, Andrew Undershaft,his daughter Barbara, a major in the Salvation Army, and her fiancé,Professor Adolphus Cusins. Undershaft visits the Army's shelter andoffers a large donation, but Barbara shudders at the thought of acceptingmoney from arms sales. Later, however, she and her husband visit Undershaft'sfactory and find that he has built a model town to provide for allhis workers' needs. After Undershaft delivers an eloquent defenceof his trade Professor Cusins joins his staff while Barbara sets outon a new mission to convert the rich. For many, the character of BarbaraUndershaft ranks only behind Saint Joan as Shaw's most inspirationalheroine.