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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: Stratford Shrew
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0988.  Wednesday, 1 October 1997.

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 15:47:05 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0977  Re: Stratford Shrew

[2]     From:   Julia Spriggs <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 1 Oct 1997 05:33:14 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0977  Re: Stratford Shrew


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Sep 1997 15:47:05 -0400
Subject: 8.0977  Re: Stratford Shrew
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0977  Re: Stratford Shrew

Helen Ostrovich looks in vain for a mind behind the Stratford (Ont.)
*Shrew*.  I think a mind did decide to distance the piece but not
radically by setting it in 50s New York (which also invokes an important
epoch at the movies), to account for the gender attitudes by placing the
action in an Italian-American community, to soften the piece by casting
a relatively unassertive actor as Petruchio, to rebalance the piece by
casting a much more assertive actor as Katherine, to enliven the piece
by means of a lot of color and energetic movement and slapstick.  (Some
of this I thought genuinely inventive and witty, such as the gangster
murder, during one of those "bizarre group sequences," which produced a
widow, subsequently seen following her husband's coffin during a second
crowd scene, who can there drop her handkerchief for Hortensio and so
set up their marriage toward the end. All of this not only helping cover
set changes and signal the passage of time but giving further exposure
to that streak of casual violence which does, in fact, run through the
text.) When I saw the production I did perceive a bond growing between
Lucy Peacock's Katherine and Peter Donaldson's Petruchio, so that the
final "sell-out" (Ostovich's term, not mine) did not in fact strike me
as coming from nowhere.  This may be a theatrical mind rather than an
academic mind, to be sure-a mind persuaded that at this stage of
Canadian cultural history developing a "Tour bus crowd-pleaser" or two
is absolutely necessary, if the Festival is to continue offering caviar
like this year's *Coriolanus*, *Oedipus*, and *Death of a Salesman*.  A
situation on which the pervasively commodified view of human
relationships that informs this play offers a disturbing if nowhere very
fully articulated perspective.

Dave Evett

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julia Spriggs <
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Date:           Wednesday, 1 Oct 1997 05:33:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0977  Re: Stratford Shrew
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0977  Re: Stratford Shrew

Since it's already been mentioned quite a few times now, I won't be
redundant and repeat the same things already said about the ending for
The Taming of the Shrew.  But, I did find the costumes for the Shrew
interesting.  I also really liked Stephen Ouimette, who played Grumio.
He really is a great actor.  He also portrayed Richard III, which I
thought was a very well acted play.  I saw him in the streets of
Stratford, but didn't have the nerve to walk up to him.

Essentially, I think the ending of the play was geared more or less for
the buses of high school students all around.  Never have I seen more
uncivil people in my life.  I stayed in the Shakespeare Inn, and a bus
load of obnoxious kids came in.  Talk about curt, I was up half the
night before they finally stopped bouncing off the walls and finally
subdued.  Or more probable, the chaperone may have given them a
tranquilizer shot the size of Texas.

Julia Spriggs
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