Oh, I have such a love/hate relationship with this work (as do many others long before me). It was the first ever Shakespearean play in which I performed, back in my senior year of high school. It inspired a classic, hilarious teen movie (to which I heavily related because I was 17 when it came out). I’ve seen some great performances of this play. Part of my love centers on the heightened theatricality of this play – more so than most, the text is determined by how it’s interpreted by a director and actors.
But the straight text, taken without the nuance and emotive direction of seeing it performed, is so troubling. Modern audiences grapple with Petruchio's treatment of his new wife and of Kate's reasons for transformation. Many attempt to explain why Kate is a shrew at the beginning. I think this is a thoroughly modern issue -- since the 20th century, people have been preoccupied with examining past events to explain current behavior. But where do we draw the line between learning from our pasts and being mired down in them?Read More