William Shakespeare & Theatre - Sample Essay

One thing I noticed was that the performance didn’t include the very start of the play, when a tramp is thrown out of a pub and told the story of the taming of the shrew. This character is at the very end again and sums up the story, but in the production they just opened with a scene on the streets of Padua and ended with the scene with Kate’s speech.

This is the only part I think that isn’t exactly what the playwright would have likes because if Shakespeare wrote it then he obviously intended for it to be in the play, and also it does narrate it a bit. However maybe the director thought the play would be too long, or that the ‘play within a play’ idea would confuse the audience. Otherwise I think that Shakespeare would have been pleased with the play, as I think it was performed how he imagined it when he wrote the lines.

I particularly admired the way that the actors spoke as if they naturally talked like that (in an old fashioned way) instead of just reciting lines. I liked the chemistry between the actors playing Katharine and Petruchio, how they first hated each other then gradually grew to like each other, and I thought they way Kate gradually completely changed character throughout the play was amazing because it was gradual and not too obvious.

However the characters of Bianca and Lucentio annoyed me slightly. I think this was because they weren’t as developed as the other couple and their story was secondary to the main one but either way I fond that I didn’t really care much about them. 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.