The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1107  Friday, 11 May 2001

From:           Thomas Larque <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 11 May 2001 01:52:06 +0100
Subject: 12.1043 Re: The Tamer Tamed
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1043 Re: The Tamer Tamed

> In these combined productions, did the actors who played Kate, return
> to play Petruchio's second wife?  Was the characterization noticeably
> different?  This would make a long evening.  Were the plays cut much?
> Enquiring minds want to know,
> Mike Jensen

I just saw the Arcola Theatre production, which turned out to be very
enjoyable.  Kate and Maria (Petruchio's wives) were indeed both played
by the same actress, as were Bianca and Livia (the younger sisters),
Lucentio and Rowland (the younger sisters' young lovers), Baptista and
Petronius (Kate and Maria's fathers) and naturally Petruchio was the
same actor on both occasions - conversely Maria's cousin Bianca was
seperated from Kate's sister of the same name by being played by a
different actress, and Moroso was played by a different actor from
Gremio (elderly and unsuccessful suitors to the younger sister) but by
the same actor as the elderly Vincentio (Lucentio's father).

Unlike the other abridgements of "The Tamer Tamed" that I have heard of
(by Garrick, Alex Gross' so far unperformed adaptation, and the
Queensland University production mentioned by Drew Whitehead), Arcola
retained the vast majority of the sub-plot, apparently taking their cuts
from main plot and sub-plot equally.  The cutting was so skillfully done
that I doubt any audience member who did not already know the two plays
(each reduced to an hour and a half) would have noticed that anything
had been cut at all.

Some of the problems noticed by critics reading "The Tamer Tamed" - the
"weak" sub-plot, and the rather sudden ending of the main plot with
Petruchio not actively submitting, only having Maria say that he has -
turned out not to be difficulties in the performance, slipping by easily
enough.  The production was apparently enjoyed by the audience, very few
of whom are ever likely to have read the play.

I am sorry to hear that Drew Whitehead found the Queensland University
production of the two plays disappointing.  For me the Arcola Theatre
production triumphantly proved that "The Tamer Tamed" is a very playable
production, and performs well for a modern audience if well acted and

Thomas Larque.

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