Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Taming of the Shrew

The directorial concept of this production of Shakespeare's comedy is that it's being improvised backstage by a troupe of USO performers. There is a palpable pleasure in watching the actors (sometimes) succeed at making the Bard's words seem to come to them spontaneously (especially because the small cast covers almost two dozen roles) but the price for this small pleasure is too high: the play itself becomes a muddle. Why, additionally, is Petruchio stomping around in a military uniform and why is that rebel hellcat Kate now played by a man in a not at all feminine fashion? I spent way too much time trying to tease out which odd choices were deliberate and which were accidents, and the result was that I didn't enjoy the play I already knew, nor did I get any fresh insights from this distortion of it.


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