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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: Naught's Well
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2103  Friday, 18 October 2002

[1]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 14:29:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2100 Re: Naught's Well

[2]     From:   James Doyle <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 22:38:14 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.2100 Re: Naught's Well


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 14:29:04 -0500
Subject: 13.2100 Re: Naught's Well
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2100 Re: Naught's Well

Anna Kamaralli wrote,

>Germaine Greer adores "Shrew"
>and it's loads of fun to read her (really very convincing) reading
>suggesting that Bianca's marriage is the model that society's
>constraints most often produced (as society forced women to be deceptive
>if they wished to have any control over their lives), and that Petruchio
>and Katherine are looking for something better than that. It's in "The
>Female Eunuch".

Another way is that of many a "lover", man or woman, to pretend to
become what the Other would have you be, so that you can "win" in the
long run.  A kind of blasphemy, of course, but employed everywhere and
by many. I should think that a good director and a competent actress
could make this point while using every word of Katherine's speech of
"submission".

         [L. Swilley]

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Doyle <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Oct 2002 22:38:14 +0100
Subject: 13.2100 Re: Naught's Well
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.2100 Re: Naught's Well

I am intrigued by this correspondence, which I hadn't really thought
about before.  I'm not deeply familiar with All's Well; I acted in it
some years ago, playing the King, but could not find anything to latch
on to as likeable in either Bertram or Helena.  I will try and revisit
it with this new illumination and see if it makes sense.

The Shrew I am much more familiar with, and have always had problems
with the very issue of lighthearted endings that is mentioned by
Annalisa.  There is often a strong assumption in productions that the
later plays deal with the complicated issues, and the earlier ones are
more simplistic, but I have always found the ending of the Shrew much
darker and more ambiguous than any production I have seen has (dared?)
to show.  I would go as far as to say that the Petruchio-Katherina
relationship is, or will become, a classical case of abuse, and that the
society around them colludes in covering it up.

In Penny Gay's 'As She Likes It: Shakespeare's Unruly Women' [Routledge
1994], she makes several strong comments about this lack of
confrontation with this central issue, and expresses hope that directors
will find a way to deal with it.  The production mentioned by Anna
Kamaralli sounds very strong, and I would love to have seen it.  I am
directing the Shrew next February (New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, UK),
and hope to put a similarly forceful interpretation on the end speech
and on the play in general.

James Doyle
(First post!  Back to lurking...)

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