Call me crazy, but I think Mrs. Warren’s Profession is pretty relevant to modern society. This past weekend I saw Roundabout’s production of the Shaw play with Cherry Jones and Sally Hawkins. I had heard it was a bit dry and dull – and while I agree that it could have been modernized in some ways, I felt the scenes between the mother and daughter were pretty applicable to modern day.
I think that’s because the play asks us to question how tied we are to our family and our past. And if and how we can be break free of bonds that oppress us – if indeed, we find them oppressive. Because, while family is family, and certainly, there’s an obligation inherent in those relationships, we must also be true to ourselves and our values. And sometimes our values are different from the values of those who have raised us.
Mrs. Warren’s Profession is also an amazingly feminist play – here’s a woman that doesn’t want a husband or a mother, and doesn’t want to be defined by her relationships to other people. I feel like, man or woman, that’s a pretty intense choice for a person to make in their life.
Which reminds me of an episode of Friday Night Lights (Season 4) where Matt Saracen is interning with a famous local artist. The artist tells him that the one quality he needs to be successful is “selfishness” because he’s going to have to abandon friends and family at a certain level to be successful and dive deep into himself.