George Bernard Shaw born in Dublin in 1856, was essentially shy, yet created the persona of G., the showman, controversialist, satirist, critic, pundit, wit, intellectual buffoon and dramatist. Commentators brought a new adjective into the English language: Shavian, a term used to embody all his brilliant qualities.
After his arrival in London in 1876 he became an active Socialist and a brilliant platform speaker. He wrote on many social aspects of the day. He also undertook his own education at the British Museum and consequently became keenly interested in cultural subjects. In 1914 he wrote the play Pygmalion which later on was adapted to the more popularly known My Fair Lady. .
The place is London; the time, 1912. It is a blustery March evening outside Covent Garden, where street-entertainers are performing for the arrival of opera patrons. Flower girls are selling bouquets. Dapper young Freddy Eynsford-Hill upsets the flowers of Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower merchant. As she protests volubly, and later as she tries to sell some flowers to Colonel Pickering, Professor Henry Higgins from a distance is painstakingly writing down her speech in a little notebook, for he is a distinguished phonetician interested in all kinds of dialects. Liza at first suspects he is a policeman, but Higgins manages to convince her otherwise. By her dialect he can recognize the place of her origin, since, as he insists, he can place any Englishman within six miles of his home by the quality of his speech. This leads him to lament that of all nationalities, the English are the ones incapable of speaking their own language correctly ("Why Can't the English?"). Spurred on by a wager with Colonel Pickering, Higgins decides to transform Liza in speech, manner and dress into a duchess. But Liza has her own ideas of what constitutes the good life ("Wouldn't It Be Loverly").
In a slum area in Tottenham Court Road, Liza's father, Doolittle, and his pals have been drinking.