Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Shrew Can So Sew...

Carl Rossi looks at Actors Shakespeare Project's Taming of the Shrew.

Everything pivots on Kate’s character. She is not a career-woman with a life of her own; she is the elder daughter in her father’s house, resentful (and scared?) from being hounded into marrying so that her beloved sister Bianca may pay court to her own suitors --- Kate may spit and hiss at her father’s entreaties, but she also clings to him since her power, paradoxically, comes from remaining his little girl. Rather than storming up and down the halls, all day, Kate runs her widowed father’s household; thus, she knows how to cook and sew and could “dwindle into a wife” should she set her mind and heart to it (why not, at auditions, ask actresses auditioning for Kate if they can sew?). (Also: does Kate know how to read and write?) Kate’s sharp tongue stems from intelligence, not an overflowing spleen --- as a Boomer would say, Kate tells it like it is regarding men and marriage (and her arguments are sound), but her words have long fallen upon deaf male ears --- the more the men dismiss her as a shrew, the louder Kate shouts to be heard (and, remember, Kate is a virgin: she will not give up her maidenhead to just any fellow) --- thus she is in full roar when Petruchio comes to call.

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