To Tame A Shrew
William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” is coming to Hanover this November 6th, 7th, and 8th! This particular Shakespeare play is performed less often than the rest, perhaps due to its controversial take on women’s role in the home being hard for modern audiences to relate to. To give modern viewers a better understanding of both the Elizabethan ideas of women’s place and the commentary the show makes on them, the Hanover High Production is set in a 1950’s workplace.
Though there are many differences between the Elizabethan Era and the 50’s, people of both times thought women were to be submissive and at home. Particularly in the 1950’s, a time when many women were trying to get their own jobs and make their own livelihood, many men looked down upon as well as physically harassed women for leaving their place in the home. This tension fits the original play perfectly, highlighting the differences between both the men and women in the show, but also between the women themselves, as some choose to do what they are told and others lash out against the norm.
Hanover’s production also features a drab grey color scheme, adding to the idea that this workplace is just like any other, and that the sexism going on isn’t anything out of the usual. Bright pops of color from the period costumes signify a break from convention, so keep an eye out. The show also features a smart use of sets, with rotating platforms to change the setting. But all in all, this is a show about a woman, Katherina, being “tamed”. She goes from speaking her mind and not letting anyone tell her what to do to bowing her head to her master, her husband. No matter when it is set, this is going to make most modern audiences extremely uncomfortable. Director’s have to make a choice: do they make Katherina insincere at the end of the play, only pretending to be tamed, or do you portray her husband/tamer as a manipulative abuser, who played mind games with his victim until she fell limp at his feet? How dark do you want the show to be? To see the director’s choices as well as how they affect the tone of the entire show, come to the auditorium this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and see for yourself.