Major Barbara

Aug 4, 2014

Major Barbara2A bomb-maker, a classics professor, and a female evangelist walk into a bar…

This is the tease for Explicit’s newest production Major Barbara written by George Bernard Shaw.

Major Barbara is described as one of Shaw’s “discussion plays” (SparkNotes). Andrew Undershaft is a military industrialist, Adolphus Cusins is a Greek scholar, and Barbara is Undershaft’s daughter who he has not seen since childhood. She is now a major in the Salvation Army.

Undershaft “participates in the power that reigns over Europe, the power that determines the course of society,” providing “the means of salvation…rather than one’s faith in a religious doctrine.” Undershaft believes that man can only be saved by overcoming poverty, hunger, and sickness and his company, a part of the military complex, is a necessary evil that actually will lead to man’s salvation.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was the co-founder of the London School of Economics, a playwright, essayist, novelist, a music and literary critic, and an “ardent Socialist.” “Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable” (Wikipedia).


Is Barbara Undershaft an aristocrat? A reformer? An evangelist? A rebel? It may be 1905, but Major Barbara is all that and more. Shaw’s ground-breaking heroine uses her wit, her will, and her sharp sense of humor to battle hypocrites, fools, conventional thinking, and the entire military-industrial complex in this comedic masterpiece.

Directed by Caltech alum Todd Brun, Major Barbara stars Giulia Pellegrino (daughter of Professor Sergio Pellegrino), K. Zachary Abbott (Professor Smith in The PhD Movie), and a cast of students, staff, JPLers, and local community talent. (

EXPLICIT stands for the “EXtracurricular PLayers at CIT (the ‘i’ is imaginary),” and is a student- and community-run organization” that produces and promotes independent theatrical productions at Caltech.


Major Barbara
Friday & Saturday, Aug. 8th & 9th at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 10th at 2 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, Aug. 15th & 16th at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 17th at 2 p.m.
Caltech, Dabney Lounge; see #40 on campus map
Free parking in lots off Michigan Ave., south of Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena
Tickets: $10, general; $5, students with ID
To reserve tickets, email
For complete details, visit








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