Buoyant Billions/The Author Explains
|Act IV. The Same. The End|| Buoyant Billions
The Author Explains
written by George Bernard Shaw
(Replies to a questionnaire by Stephen Winsten and Esmé Percy, in holograph facsimile. World Review, London, September 1949)
(1) Why did you call your new play a 'Comedy of No Manners' when this is the best-mannered play you have written? In Act I, father and son are exceptionally courteous.
They are not courteous. They are simply frank, which is the extremity of no manners. This takes the play out of the well category [sic] called Comedy of Manners.
(2) If, as the result of taxation, there will be no more wealthy folk, what will Worldbetterers do if they cannot marry 'for money'?
Just what they do at present when they cannot attract wealthy wives.
(3) All the wisdom seems to have been put into the mouths of native and Eastern. Have you given up hope on the Pinks?
Read the play again. The pink women are as wise as the yellow men; and none of the white men are nitwits. But east is east and west is west throughout.
(4) In Good King Charles Kneller seems to have the better of Newton in argument. Here, in Buoyant Billions, you go all out for the mathematician. Does it mean you have changed your mind?
I do not go all out for anybody or anything. I am a playwright, not a Soot or Whitewash doctrinaire. I give Newton his own point of view and Kneller his own also. There is neither change nor contradiction on my part.
(5) In Buoyant Billions it is the male who is the pursuing animal: a change from Man and Superman?
There is no pursuing animal in the play. There are two people who fall in love at first sight and are both terrified at finding themselves mad on the subject, and caught in a trap laid by the Life Force. Do you expect me to keep writing Man & Superman over and over again?
(6) Do you suggest that Buoyant's training of his children made it difficult for them to cope with changed circumstances?
No. It is difficult for everybody to cope with changed circumstances.