The month is over. And time to wrap up The Taming of the Shrew.
I began the month unsure about this one. The history of sexist controversy.
I found readings of the text on the page that weren’t so sexist. I found readings in the text that softened Kate’s persona. But none that would be easy to convey to the stage… and isn’t that where it needs to be. The audience isn’t going to be following along with an annotated text, going, “Ah, I see… Kate’s been saddled with responsibility… that’s why she is the way she is.”
The play has one great scene: the wooing scene, and a couple of pretty good ones (the Latin lesson and the meeting of Vincentio on the road). But the rest? Not great. A good moment here and there, but the whole never comes together. Weird lapses in the verse.
Is the lack of a conclusion for the Sly Induction indicative of this? Can that be seen as a metaphor for the play as a whole?
Do I like the play? Yeah.
Do I love it? Not really.
I’ve never seen a great production. The one staged production (Oregon Shakespeare Festival in ’91), I don’t even remember it well enough to discuss. The film versions? A mixed bag at best (though I’m still waiting for the arrival of my newly ordered Marc Singer 1976 version).
Unlike Titus, I can’t quite see in my mind’s eye how to do this play on stage in a way that’s both entertaining and intellectually sound.
I’m not sure I’m in any better a place in regards to The Taming of the Shrew than I was at the beginning of the month.
I got to re-read a play I haven’t read in decades. That’s a positive. I’ve learned more about the play and its brother-version (A Shrew). That was interesting. But I had been hoping to come away loving the play, or at least liking it better than I did.
That mission was NOT accomplished.
I can’t believe I’m writing this: Thus far, Taming has been my least favorite play… (Titus, Errors, Taming — maybe the other way around, not quite sure at the moment)