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Theatre review - On Thursday 22nd May, I saw a performance of William Shakespeare's 'Taming of the shrew.'

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Introduction

Drama coursework - theatre review On Thursday 22nd May, I saw a performance of William Shakespeare's 'Taming of the shrew.' It was a matinee performance and took place in the Royal Shakespeare theatre, in Stratford upon Avon. The play is about a father (Baptista) with two daughters, Katherine and Bianca. Bianca is sweet and well behaved, and there are lots of men that want to marry her, but her father won't let her get married until he can find a husband for Katherine, who is loud, rude and bad tempered. A man called Petruchio is persuaded to marry Kate because of her money, and proceeds to try and 'tame' her. Meanwhile a man who has fallen in love with Bianca., Lucientio, disguises himself as her teacher so he can get to know her, and they also get married. The story ends happily when Kate, now sweet and obedient, lectures the women on the duty they have to their husbands, and kisses Petruchio. The play was staged on a 'Proscenium arch' stage, with a screen at the back that had scenes like rain projected on it when needed. There were no curtains, and a small floor space between the stage and the stalls. The orchestra were raised to the level of the boxes, stage right that was different from other theatre I have experienced, but I liked it because it meant you weren't distanced from the stage. ...read more.

Middle

Nevertheless they showed a lot about the personalities of each role. For example, Bianca wore a pretty yellow dress to show how girly she was, and that she cared about her appearance while Kat wore a rough looking one. Gremio's clothes were probably the most affluent, with robes that were trimmed of fur and a lot of gold jewellery, which supported the fact that he was the richest of Bianca's suitors, '...Gremio retired to his moneybags...' Things like this showed aspects of their personalities. I could tell that clothes were important in those times because they showed who a person was. A case that shows this is when Lucentio swaps clothes with his servant., so that anyone who saw them would know instantly which one was the master. I've seen things like this in other performances, for example 'Les Miserables' and often other pre 1900 plays. Most of the characters in the play were wealthy and their clothes showed this, they wore outfits made of velvet and other expensive materials in warm bright colours like red and purple, while the extras in the opening scene and the servants were all wearing drab course clothes in white and brown. The clothes also show how old a person is, because Lucientio's father and Baptista wear long robes in dark colours while the younger men wear fancy attire. ...read more.

Conclusion

The character of Bianca seemed quite annoying and spoilt, while Lucentio was just insipid. I think the director could have given Bianca a bit more sympathy, as she was I would have teased her if she was my sister! The attraction of 'Taming of the shrew' is that even though it was written 400 years ago, it still has themes relevant to modern life, like arguing siblings, over protective fathers, and love. It also has very recognizable and likeable characters that you can empathize with, which is why I think the modern day film '10 things I hate about you' was so successful. The play is a lot more accessible, especially for younger viewers than some of Shakespeare's other plays, like Romeo and Juliet, or Macbeth because it's more of a comedy. It also has shared themes to other popular plays for example, 'My fair lady' (self improvement) and 'As you like it' which has a shared topic of mistaken identity that arises between Bianca's suitors, and Lucentio's father. Overall I enjoyed some of the performance, but was bored by some bits. I thought the first half dragged on slightly and then Act 2 went much faster. I would imagine I would enjoy it more in a few years when I am older, or maybe when I have read the script, however it was a valuable and agreeable experience towards my understanding of drama. ...read more.

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