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Arms and the Man

a comedy by George Bernard Shaw

Which soldier should Raina chose — the dashing hero she idolizes or the weakling intellectual who idolizes her?

Department of Theatre & Drama

Mendelssohn Theatre

February 17 - 20, 2011


The Story:  At the end of the Serbo-Bulgarian War in 1885, an idealistic young Bulgarian woman, Raina, is delighted to be engaged to Sergius, a dashing but dense hero of the war. One evening she is startled to confront a soldier in her boudoir – Captain Bluntschli, a handsome Swiss mercenary fighting for Serbia - who begs for refuge. Attracted, Raina assists Bluntschli evade capture, although she views him doubly lacking in courage when he confesses that he would rather carry chocolates than bullets. Upon her fiancé’s homecoming, Raina begins to find Sergius pompous and foolhardy, a distinct contrast to her sensitive ‘chocolate cream soldier.’ When the Captain suddenly returns and is surprisingly welcomed by Sergius, Bluntschli’s presence turns Raina’s ideals, household, and engagement upside down. Torn between the two men, Raina must decide who will capture her heart.

Background:  Considered the second greatest English-language playwright after Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw was equally as prolific, writing 29 plays and countless books, essays, articles and reviews in his lifetime. After a string of stage failures, Shaw embarked on his “Plays Pleasant,” for which Arms and the Man became his initial commercial success in 1894 and was the first of his works to debut in North America only five months after its London premiere. Often considered an “anti-romantic” comedy, the play deftly weaves Shaw’s infamous wit with a satirical study on the illusions of both the glories of war and romantic love. Called “a firecracker of a play” by Shaw himself, Arms and the Man is social criticism wrapped in an entertaining confection.




Artistic Staff

Director Philip Kerr
Scenic Designer Michael Bou-Maroun
Costume Designer Jessica Hahn
Lighting Designer Mary Clare Blake-Booth
Stage Manager

Kelsy Durkin


Click here to view photos from Arms and the Man


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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower