POST: 'The Taming of the Shrew' - a defiant and empowered woman
What's it about?
A love story. About a defiant and empowered woman (Katherina) and a man (Petruchio) who desires to tame her, promising that she will never be the same. The play goes through the tormented love rants/chants of Petruchio in his aim to "tame" Katherina, but it ends with Petruchio being tamed out of his shrewd, overpowering self.
What'd I experience?
I could identify with Katherina's character, she knew what she wanted and stood for it. She seemed rebellious, she seemed like a modern woman living in an ancient time. I'd compare her to a rose, though like the petals she is fragile and tender, like the stem she is firm and reassuring and has spikes. Overall, she is brittle and beautiful and must be respected by a gentleman.
A gentleman is who Petruchio claims to be and as he sweet talks Katherina, her ears are surprised by his forward tongue - which slowly moves her to love.
Like many Shakespearean play, the language stood out. Not in confusing or frustrating manner, but as I watched I understood and appreciated the poetic language. I felt like I was a part of a different time period. It did not feel strange from any of the characters. I could understand who they were and what their objectives were. And I was delighted to watch them fight to attain the heart of the one they loved or were infatuated with. For some reason I thought about New York, where it is so diverse, and many people are often recognized for their unique cultures.
There was a mix in the music that, in my opinion, represented the lifelong beauty of art. As the music went from hip hop to r&b (representing the present) to some old fashioned opera (representing the past), I couldn't help but think nothing is ever really done away with.
It was very funny, just how they translated Shakespeare's words into something I could understand. There were moments like when Katherina refuted Grumio and Hortensio in the beginning, which was just hilarious because they were afraid of her, yet, desired her sister. Bianca, Katherina's sister, was tossed around so many times that she was played by a really big balloon doll. I saw the passion and drive of each man that wanted her, as they literally swept her off her feet.
Only women acted in this play. I thought to myself, who else could best demonstrate confining roles and expectations - women who are restricted by society.
What was even more interesting was the end where, Katherine's obedience towards Petruchio was put to the test as each man called for his wife. Though at the beginning of the play she despised a poem, she ended up quoting it at the end. I saw her broken and everyone suddenly turned on Petruchio, showing him to be the shrew. At this point, I realized the twist in how Petruchio was really playing a subtle stereotypical male character. He made himself seem dominant over Katherina rather than demonstrating his love. And at the end it comes together, Petruchio mends his heart by accepting Katherina as she is.