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The Apple Cart: A Political Extravaganza is a 1928 play by George Bernard Shaw. Though it offers some laughs, the play is primarily a reflection on a number of political philosophies and characters who frequently deliver lengthy speeches defending their views. It follows the fictional King Magnus as he outwits a petulant Prime Minister, Proteus, and his cabinet, who seek to strip the monarchy of its remaining political powers. As Shaw puts it succinctly in the Preface, it is "a comedy in which a King defeats an attempt by his popularly elected Prime Minister to deprive him of the right to influence public opinion through the press and the platform: in short, to reduce him to a cipher. The King's reply is that rather than be a cipher he will abandon his throne and take his obviously very rosy chance of becoming a popularly elected Prime Minister himself."

The play was completed in December 1928 and first performed at Warsaw (in Polish) the following June. Its English première was at the Malvern Festival in August 1928 and a special train had to be laid on for the theatre critics coming from London.

Shaw based King Magnus largely on himself and the enigmatic and pivotal character of Orinthia, the King's Mistress, on Mrs Patrick Campbell, who had created Eliza Dolittle in Pygmalion.[1]

Contents

Characters

  • Sempronius The King's Private Secretary
  • Pamphilius The King's Private Secretary
  • Billy Boanerges President of the Board of Trade
  • King Magnus
  • Orinthia King's Mistress
  • Alice Princess Royal
  • Joe Proteus Prime Minister
  • Pliny Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Nicobar Foreign Secretary
  • Crassus Colonial Secretary
  • Balbus Home Secretary
  • Amanda Postelthwaite Postmistress General
  • Lysistrata Powermistress General
  • Vanhattan American Ambassador
  • Queen Jemima

Text

In performance

The Apple Cart at the Internet Broadway Database

Notes & References

  1. ^ Peter Hall Company 2009 Programme - Shaw's The Apple Cart by Robert Warren
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