Welcome to the Pygmalion Pilot Project. In a joint venture with the TDSB, we’ve put together this page to help you enjoy the various sights and sounds of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Building on the Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion, who crafts his perfect woman out of ivory, Shaw’s play follows the attempts of Professor Henry Higgins to venture down a similar path as his Greek predecessor. However, set in the heart of London in the early 1900s, Pygmalion’s narrative takes a path of its own and breathes new life into the Greek myth. Featuring a variety of different characters, Pygmalion takes its readers (or viewers) on a tumultuous ride through the complicated and often humorous complexities of the upper-class British lifestyle.
Be sure to also check out our Productions of Pygmalion page for further insight into the wide-reaching grasp of this powerful story.
Links to downloadable Pygmalion PDFs:
Not only is George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion a fantastic work of writing, but it has taken on a life of its own in the realms of both television and cinema. The play first took to the movies with Pygmalion in 1938. What makes this film so special is that in it Shaw had an active part in the development and filming of the movie, making it true to his artistic vision. Since then, Pygmalion has appeared a number of times in different medias. Television, film, and theatre have all been touched by Shaw’s play. The core of the story is so powerfully universal that it has even been translated into different languages and performed in different countries, including productions in Hindi and Bengali.
Update: Watch a young Kate Middleton assume the role of Pygmalion’s Eliza Doolittle in an elementary school performance detailed in this DailyMail article.
The Greek Pygmalion Myth
Given the popularity of G.B Shaw’s work, people have begun to look to its original source of inspiration, the Greek Pygmalion myth. In brief, Pygmalion was a Greek sculptor who carved statues out of ivories. Unsatisfied with the women around him, he carved his ideal woman into a beautiful statue, Galatea . It wasn’t long however, before he fell in love with his creation. At the festival for Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, Pygmalion prayed that his statue would come to life. When he returned home, he kissed Galatea’s lips, and rested his hands on her body. With Aphrodite’s blessing, his prayer was answered, and he then married Galatea.
Check out these two interesting and unique takes on the Pygmalion myth. They were both created by young and talented minds like your own!
You can read a fantastic play about Pygmalion and Galatea here, provided by the U.S Library of Congress online database.
BONUS: the second is set to music from Zelda: The Wind Walker