As plays are meant to be performed rather than read, there is a great variety of plays from which one can choose. For the assignment, it was chosen to view The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare as a classic interpretation. The full video of the performance is available on YouTube, and it was published in 2017 by Local TV Studio. The theme of the play is exploring the volatile relationship between shrewish Katharina and Petruchio, who is determined to subdue the temper of the young woman and win her over: “She vied so fast, protesting oath after oath, that in a twink she won me to her love” (Shakespeare, 1836, p. 252). The main story about the characters is being presented as a play within a play. In the frame plot, a lord decides to play a practical joke on a drunken tinker by making him believe that he was a nobleman himself and had forgotten about it due to amnesia. The main story of the play is presented to the tinker as a way of entertaining him (Kuiper, 2013).
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The uniqueness of the performance is associated with the setting as it is performed outdoors in a park with full but backdrops. Watching the stage from a different angle, it is possible to see cars drive by, which creates a casual atmosphere. The stage is elevated in front of the audience, with whimsical arches framing it, creating the main backdrop. Through the arches, the park landscape is visible, which creates a relaxing atmosphere for viewing the play. While the characters are dressed in traditional costumes for Shakespeare, and there is not much deviation from the classical version of the play, the setting makes the performance unique.
The mood created in the performance is overall casual, which is an overall positive thing for Shakespeare because many people in the audience get confused by the complexity of the plays. Through the performance in the park with simple but effective decorations, it is easier to understand the plot and the characters. Such a “no-frills” approach to Shakespeare is refreshing, practical, and flexible, which means that the actors can use any setting to recreate their performance, whether in a park or a parking lot of a shopping center. The detail that stood out was the audience is sitting on the ground on the chairs that they brought from home to see the play. This contributes to the overall casual and communal atmosphere. People unite through the desire to get closer to Shakespeare without the need to go to the treater or spend money on expensive tickets.
The play made an overall positive impression as it was easy and entertaining to watch. The set itself was the most exciting part because it was unusual for a Shakespeare to play. As the sun was setting, it got darker, and the stage has to be lit from below. The aspect of nature performed a realistic feel, which is often missed when plays are performed in theaters. The main takeaway from the experience of watching the play is that Shakespeare should not be taken too seriously. The performances should be flexible because the nature of stories relies on relationships between people, which is a universal theme that is relevant anywhere and at any time.
Kuiper, K. (2013). The comedies of William Shakespeare. Britannica Educational Publishing.
Shakespeare, W. (1836). The works of Shakespeare. Isaac, Tuckey, and Co.
LosalTVStudio1. (2017). Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew [Video]. YouTube.
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