Omar Khan – A Crucible for Humanism: Shaw’s Pygmalion
Sunday, May 20, 2018 – 11:00 am
Ceremonial Hall – 4th floor
George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Laureate, reluctant Oscar winner, was one of the greatest writers of the English language and one of the most fabled playwrights of all time. Of his many plays, none has captured popular attention more than Pygmalion, which went on to spawn My Fair Lady. Of course, this is even more timely, as Project Shaw by the Gingold Group is doing a dramatic reading of Pygmalion at Symphony Space in February, and Bartlett Sher’s production of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center will begin previews in March!
Embedded in this play is a provocative, still utterly salient, radical and quite ecumenical view of human potential: what constrains it, what liberates it, how social roles congeal, that razor’s edge between empty rebellion and meaningful freedom. All this in what Shaw wryly calls “a romance.” And in exploring this play, our sense of “romance” gets enlarged and emancipated as well.
Shaw’s play throws down a gauntlet, challenging trite conceptions of human relations, as well as our sense of self and growth. It deserves to be “rediscovered” as a multi-faceted provocation, for shining a light on how we can engage with each other, for exploring different facets of “loving” with integrity — even how at times as paradigms get unsettled and expanded, we may have to “wince” our way to wisdom.
An avid New Yorker now, born in Egypt, of Pakistani heritage, Omar Khan grew up in NYC, lived also in the UK, Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Japan. Founder of a consulting firm, Sensei International, which helps organizations engage human performance to deliver business results. Founder of The International Business and Wine Society, which offers “Symposia” and “Convivia” as the Greeks and Romans essentially intended. Long-time devotee, gadfly and benefactor of the Shaw Festival in Canada, the only Festival devoted to the work and ideas of George Bernard Shaw. Spoke previously at The Philadelphia Ethical Society as well on Kantian Ethics and Humanism, a topic on which he wrote a thesis at Oxford University.
Shared Charity: Women for Afghan Women
Presider: Leader Anne Klaeysen