Shaw’s ‘Misalliance’ is subversive, wild fun at A Noise Within

PHOTO: Daniel Reichert | The South Pasadenan | Trisha Miller as Polish acrobat & pilot Lina Szczepanowska in George Bernard Shaw’s wildy subversive “Misalliance” at A Noise Within.
PHOTO: Daniel Reichert | The South Pasadenan | Trisha Miller as Polish acrobat & pilot Lina Szczepanowska in George Bernard Shaw’s wildy subversive “Misalliance” at A Noise Within.

Eight marriage proposals and a plane crash, all in one afternoon. A Noise Within closes
out its 2023-24 “Balancing Act” season with George Bernard Shaw’s high-flying comedy, Misalliance.

Guillermo Cienfuegos (last season’s Much Ado About Nothing) directs for a May 18 opening at the company’s home in Pasadena, where performances continue through June 9. Previews begin May 12.

Taking place entirely during a single Saturday afternoon, Misalliance offers a chaotic and hilarious clash of class, gender, and generation. Much to the delight of bourgeois underwear
tycoon John Tarleton (Peter Van Norden) and his wife (Deborah Strang), their sweet, seemingly proper daughter, Hypatia (Erika Soto), is set to cement the family’s entry into
Edwardian aristocracy with her upcoming marriage to Bentley (Josey Montana McCoy), the son of Lord Summerhays (Frederick Stuart) — and an irritant to Hypatia’s brother Johnny
(Riley Shanahan). But the unexpected arrival of uninvited guests (Joshua Bitton, Dan Lin and Trisha Miller) suddenly changes everything.

- Advertisement -

“This is not the Shaw you think you know,” says Cienfuegos. “Of all his plays, this one is the closest to being a farce. It’s a lot about class and a lot about marriage… and a lot about sex. So little has changed.”

Set in Edwardian England just after the Victorian era, the set and costumes for Misalliance will appear classically period. But just when the audience thinks it knows what that England looks like and how these characters are going to behave, Shaw subverts everything and turns it all into a lot of wild fun.

“There’s a sort of feverish madness to the play that’s almost reminiscent of A Midsummer
Night’s Dream, which we did earlier in the season,” suggest co-artistic directors Geoff Elliott
and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott. “Shaw’s plays often tend to be very controlled, and this one is very youthful and carefree in a way that you don’t often see Shaw.”

The creative team for Misalliance includes scenic designer Angela Balogh Calin; lighting
designer Ken Booth; composer and sound designer Christopher Moscatiello; costume
designer Christine Cover Ferro; wig and make up designer Tony Valdés; properties designer
Stephen Taylor; dialect coach Andrea Odinov; and dramaturg Miranda Johnson-Haddad.
The assistant director is Rachel Berney-Needleman. The production stage manager is Angela Sonner, assisted by Hope Matthews.

A Noise Within has been called “an oasis for those who love classic stories” by the Los Angeles Times and is a leading regional producer based in Pasadena, California. Under the leadership of Elliott and Rodriguez-Elliott, the award-winning resident theater company is honored to represent the entire community at its state-of-the-art, 324-seat performance space. In addition to producing world-class performances of classic theater, the organization runs robust education programs with the goal of inspiring diverse audiences of all ages. ANW is committed to antiracist policies and practices across the entirety of the organization. By interpreting its mission to fully engage audiences through community and artist-centered work in multiple creative disciplines, ANW is striving to be a theater that better serves the entire community.

A Noise Within’s 2023-24 Season is presented by the S. Mark Taper Foundation.

Performances of Misalliance take place May 18 through June 9 on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.;
Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. (no 2 p.m. matinee
on Saturday, May 18; no evening performance on Saturday, June 8). Three preview
performances take place on Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m.

Post-performance conversations with the artists will take place every Friday (except the
preview) and on Sunday, May 26. There will be one student matinee on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 a.m.; interested educators should email
Tickets to Misalliance start at $29. Student tickets start at $18. Tickets to both the preview on Wednesday, May 15 and the performance on Thursday, May 23 will be Pay What You Choose starting at $10 (available online beginning at noon the Monday prior, and at the box office beginning at 2 p.m. on the day of the performance) Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

A Noise Within is located at 3352 E Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107. For more
information and to purchase tickets, call (626) 356-3100 or go to