Written in 1906, George Bernard Shaw’s “The Doctor’s Dilemma” satirizes the medical profession in a way that is frighteningly (and humorously) pertinent to the debate going on one hundred years later
Lori Merkle Ford plays one of the key roles in “The Doctor’s Dilemma,” that of a woman who is the object of two dilemmas faced by a London physician. One is that the doctor has to figure out a way to be able to treat her ill husband. The other is that he thinks she is making a play for him. Or is he?
VCOS: So tell me about the character you play in this show.
LORI: Jennifer Dubedat is married to Louis, who is very sick from tuberculosis. Jennifer’s number one goal is to find a way to cure her husband and she begins to research doctors to try and find the one who she thinks will be the person to cure him. So she finds Dr. Ridgeon, who has decided he can cure tuberculosis. The problem is that he can only take on ten patients at a time and Louis would make number eleven. So Jennifer takes it upon herself to do what she can do to get Dr. Ridgeon to choose Louis over one of the ten who he is already treating.
VCOS: Are there any differences acting in a play that was written over 100 years ago?
LORI: From a female’s standpoint, physically, we are required to use a lot less movement. Women have to stand straight and hold their hands a certain way. The best way to put it is we have to be “very proper,” whereas in today’s society, as women, we really don’t think about that necessarily unless we’re in a specific situation. Women of 100 years ago had to use certain manners, otherwise she was looked upon badly. So that’s also something I have to be very aware of.
VCOS: Is this reflected in the dialog?
VCOS: As far as the play’s content is concerned, do you see it as being ahead of its time?
LORI: I think it’s quite relevant. The language, of course, doesn’t allow you to easily get that, but if you really pay attention to the content behind it, I think it’s quite relevant. But you’ll have to see the show to find out, because there’s more going on!
“The Doctor’s Dilemma” concludes its run at the Theater on the Hill – in the Hillcrest Center for the Arts, this weekend. See the VC On Stage Calendar of Events for dates and times.