Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Taming of the Shrew

photo: Donald Cooper

I'm usually annoyed when a director forces his own high-concept interpretation onto a classic - too often the result is more about the director and much less about the classic - but I couldn't possibly complain about Edward Hall's rigorous, revelatory take on this Shakespeare comedy. Directing the all-male Propeller Company (the London troupe currently installed for a few more days at BAM to perform this in rep with Twelfth Night), Hall mines the story of willful Kate's "taming" at the hands of husband Petruchio for something that registers for a modern audience as wholesale abusiveness. While conforming more or less as much to Shakespeare's text as I've seen in other recent productions, this vivid interpretation plays the relationship less like a belly laugh and more like a punch in the gut. The "truth" that emerges is no longer about the submission of women, it's about the capacity for brutality in men.

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