Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Shrews Behaving Badly
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1042  Wednesday, 28 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Richard Nathan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 16:57:09 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1032  Shrews Behaving Badly

[2]     From:   John Leonard <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 13:51:14 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly

[3]     From:   
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Date:   Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 15:23:31 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly

[4]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 14:05:34 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Sunday, 25 Oct 1998 22:12:46 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 16:57:09 +0000
Subject: 9.1032  Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1032  Shrews Behaving Badly

I've seen a number of productions of "TAMING OF THE SHREW" that play it
straight - and for the most part, those productions have worked.  Yes,
Kate's submission speech is grating to 20th Century Ears - but the
people putting on the play have realized the 20th Century is not our
Century.

It helps to have a Kate who, in the early scenes, is uncivil - who does
need a lesson in manners.

What I would really like to see sometime is an all-male production of
"TAMING OF THE SHREW"-using the play within a play format  (i.e., it's
all a play for Sly).  I would like to see how Kate's speech would work
at the end if we knew it was really a man giving the speech.

By the way, the U.S. had its own version of "MEN BEHAVING BADLY,"
licensed from the British version.  It was generally regarded as awful.
I've never seen the British version, but there were a lot of complaints
that the U.S.  producers wimped out, and didn't allow the U.S.
characters to be as gross as their British counterparts  --  and thereby
missed the whole point of the series.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Leonard <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 13:51:14 -0400
Subject: 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly

Many thanks to Stevie Simkin for a fascinating report on English
stereotypes (and other things).  Twelve years have passed since I left
the old country and I confess I have never before heard of "new lads" or
"Essex girls" [is "girl" now acceptable usage in the UK?].  The term
"new money, no culture" was also interesting.  Does it imply that old
money is a guarantee of culture?  But what most grabbed me was this:

>"in a nutshell, new lad = a retreat to the beer guzzling, sexist pig persona of old)"

Why call it a *retreat* to "the beer guzzling, sexist pig persona of
old"?  Shouldn't it be an *advance* if "new lads" are (however unjustly)
no longer daunted by the word "sexist"?  Not but what Essexism has
terrors of its own.

John Leonard

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Date:           Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 15:23:31 EDT
Subject: 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly

I would be most interested in a discussion of the problems of Shrew,
since I've decided to do it next spring and am even now wrestling with
these issues.  I think it was the commentator in the Arden edition who
pointed out that Petruchio asks Kate to tell the *other* women what
*they* owed to *their* husbands.  Is this enough to hang a PC production
on?

How have others experienced the dynamic between those two in
production?  Can it be consistently played so that it is not groaningly
unbelievable to a contemporary audience?

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 24 Oct 1998 14:05:34 +0000
Subject: 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1032 Shrews Behaving Badly

Stevie Simkin wrote:

> a)  today, either you play the Shrew as tragedy, or you play it
> ironically. There are no alternatives, it seems to me (a number of
> people who stayed behind for the after-show chat made the point about
> the play "not being PC").
>
> b)  Stephen Unwin had attempted to sidestep the way the text affirms
> patriarchy
> by setting it in a section of society that was either post-feminist, or
> which feminism had passed by.
> An interesting experiment, all in all, but I was left wondering if this
> is one of those plays that finally isn't really worth reviving.  Any
> thoughts, anyone?

This is the kind of question that it is very hard for those of us who
see the canon as originating as in the 1570s-80s as plays written purely
for Court holiday entertainment, then recast in the 1590s for broad
public consumption, to allow to pass without comment. Many questions of
this kind that arise on this netgroup can be simply and easily resolved
by this paradigm. Generally I let them slide by, but this is so easily
resolved that I'll give an explanation, and hope that those that don't
like it will simply exercise their delete finger and let it go at that.

Lord Strange had the premiere acting company at Court during the late
80s and early nineties, taking over from the Queen's men, who were more
important at Court during the early and middle 80s. In 1579-80 he
married Alice Spencer, who later, as the Dowager Countess of Derby, was
known as an important patroness, and also known for her irritable temper
and strength of mind. When her husband, Lord Strange, by then the Fourth
Earl of Derby, died under peculiar circumstances in 1594, his death was
followed almost immediately by the formation of the Lord Chamberlain's
men, which was made up, in part, by players from the Lord Strange's
men.  (Alice Spencer's sister, BTW, married the son of that same Lord
Chamberlain.)

The Taming of The Shrew was the version prepared for the public in the
early 90s from the earlier version, The Taming of a Shrew, which was the
version written for the Court in 1579, as, I believe, a roast, or
chivaree, celebrating the engagement of Lord Strange to Alice Spencer,
in which the author was roasting both his friend, the new Court
impresario, for his passion for fahionable clothes and horses, and his
bride-to-be for her lack of docility.

When Strange died in 1594 (at the age of 36) he left a tailor's bill of


 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.