lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
[personal profile] lareinenoire
Day #11: Your least favourite play - The Taming of the Shrew

This is in spite of the fact that the first time I ever performed Shakespeare was in my tenth-grade English class, doing Shrew, Act IV, Scene I. The more problematic aspects of the scene -- like the fact that Petruchio was literally starving Kate -- completely passed me by, so happy was I to be actually performing Shakespeare. There were maybe four groups in total in my class, and ours came out with fully memorised lines, costumes, and props. Everyone was very happy we went last. ;)

It was only when I read the play again in undergrad that I realised I didn't really find it very funny at all. The only exception is the sun/moon exchange in Act IV, Scene V, which can be hilarious in performance. The rest of it just seems like a series of vignettes about domestic abuse that are somehow meant to be amusing. I have been told that there are productions that take up this aspect of the play and do very interesting things with it, and I'm more than willing to be convinced that I'm wrong to dislike it. (I didn't like Winter's Tale at all, for instance, before seeing it in performance.)

Day #1: Your favourite play - Othello and Richard III
Day #2: Your favourite character - Lady Elizabeth Grey in 3 Henry VI and Richard III
Day #3: Your favourite hero - Othello
Day #4: Your favourite heroine - Juliet from Romeo and Juliet and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
Day #5: Your favorite villain - Richard of Gloucester
Day #6: Your favourite villainess female villain - Joan la Pucelle
Day #7: Your favourite clown - Feste from Twelfth Night
Day #8: Your favourite comedy - Much Ado About Nothing
Day #9: Your favourite tragedy - King Lear
Day #10: Your favourite history - The Henry VI trilogy
Day #11: Your least favourite play - The Taming of the Shrew
Day #12: Your favourite scene
Day #13: Your favourite romantic scene
Day #14: Your favourite fight scene
Day #15: The first play you read
Day #16: Your first play you saw
Day #17: Your favourite speech
Day #18: Your favourite dialogue
Day #19: Your favourite movie version of a play
Day #20: Your favourite movie adaptation of a play
Day #21: An overrated play
Day #22: An underrated play
Day #23: A role you've never played but would love to play
Day #24: An actor or actress you would love to see in a particular role
Day #25: Sooner or later, everyone has to choose: Hal or Falstaff?
Day #26: Your favourite couple
Day #27: Your favourite couplet
Day #28: Your favourite joke
Day #29: Your favourite sonnet
Day #30: Your favourite single line

Date: 2010-07-30 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Did you ever see the American Shakespeare Company's version of Taming from...oh, gosh, 1979? They did it in a very over the top manner, and made it very clear that there was serious chemistry between the leads. It was really funny.

When we did it, that's what I was hoping we'd be able to accomplish, but our director was an idiot, and the guy I had to play opposite had no idea how to be funny - he was terrified of looking silly, I think. so it was a terrible production.

In short, I think Taming can work, but it's hard going.

Date: 2010-07-30 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, it's a really hard play, tone-wise. You've got to be funny, but at the same time, in this day and age, you really can't make jokes about spousal abuse. But it can work if there's chemistry between the leads, as you said.

Date: 2010-07-30 11:44 pm (UTC)
ext_22618: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
The only version of Taming of the Shrew that I've seen was the BBC adaptation starring...I think her name is Shirley Henderson? as Kat, who in this incarnation was a Srs Bizness politician who needed to find a husband in order to improve her image with the voters, and Rufus Sewell as a down-on-his-luck aristocrat. I found it hilarious and really well done, though it helped that both the leads were amazing.

Date: 2010-07-30 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, the Shakespeare Retold version! I really want to see that, just because of those two. Also, the Macbeth with James MacAvoy as an ambitious chef! Because Macbeth + Kitchen Implements = WIN.

Date: 2010-07-31 12:10 am (UTC)
ext_22618: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, Shakespeare Retold, that was it! I really enjoyed it. And the bit at the end where it's all "women are supposed to be subservient and stuff" is very neatly subverted by the way the couple are acting, so that it reads as tongue-in-cheek rather than as something to be taken seriously. I liked that a lot.

Date: 2010-08-12 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So you may recall from a previous LJ entry of mine, but I never really encountered Taming of the Shrew until I saw it performed last summer. I kept waiting for some witty, well-written riposte of feminism within the play, but no. He starves the wife he buys into submission, and she seems almost gleeful of it at the end of the play. I was just totally appalled - not that the play itself exists, but that people continue to perform it. Surely there are better.


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