The 2003 ‘Regime Change’ season at Shakespeare’s Globe saw the theatre belatedly extend its original practices experiments – which had included a number of productions with all-male casts – to a single-sex, women-led company, performing Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew in repertory. Phyllida Lloyd joined the project late in the day after Barry Kyle left the production, and the result (as seen on the archive video at Shakespeare’s Globe) is a joyful, comic, and playfully satirical take on the play that celebrates the bodies and improvisatory skill of the company’s women.WeenFashion Women's Blend Materials High-Heels Round-Toe Sandals with Peep Toes and LaceAdeeSu Womens Chunky Heels Platform Glass Diamond Imitated Suede Boots.AdeeSu Womens Platform Kitten-Heels Outdoor Imitated Leather BootsAdeeSu Ladies Lace-Up Mule Kitten-Heels Patent Leather Boots.
For Lloyd’s company, men are a species unto themselves. Even rival suitors Hortensio (Yolanda Vazquez) and Gremio (Penelope Dimind) slap one another’s backs and share mutually reinforcing shouts and grunts. Petruchio, when he emerges in the imposing six-foot form of Janet McTeer, NOMIMAS Wedge Sneakers Trainers Women Fall Femme Platform Autumn Casual Chunky Cotton Fabric Runway Fashion shoesSoda Women's Climate Faux Leather Lace-up Thick Platform Chunky Heel Lug Ankle Bootie,Brown,5.5is the most alpha of the males, embodying a slightly swaggering but entirely self-possessed confidence that brooks no argument.
This commedia-inflected production plays the Shrew fairly straight, for laughs, and without the induction that might give it an ironic frame. Instead, any critique and irony comes from within the performances themselves, as the company allow the play to be a comedy but allow that comedy to push to uncomfortable places. Kathryn Hunter’s Katherina is a spoiled woman-child, stamping her feet and shouting wordlessly when she doesn’t get her way,1TO9 Womens Ruched Solid Boots Urethane Boots MNS03475AdeeSu Womens Spikes Stilettos Zipper Fabric Boots SXC03793 and in the early scenes Petruchio brilliantly turns this against her when informing the other men that they have agreed she will do this – when she stamps, the men clap and cheer her; when she shouts, they turn it into a huzzah, depriving her of her best weapons. Her abuse of her sister Bianca (Laura Rogers) is thorough and quite violent, but this comes from justifiable resentment at the clear favouritism of her father Baptista (Anna Healy). Katherina has undeniable problems, but watching her passed over by her father and gaslit by her wooer is still hard to watch.
During the second half, at Petruchio’s house, the strategies are very clear and centred around food. In a clever move, Lloyd brings onstage Petruchio’s spaniel Troilus, an actor in a dog costume, who takes an immediate dislike to Katherina; Katherina tries to flee from the dog, AdeeSu Womens Square Heels Chunky Heels Platform Microfiber Boots SXC03745Wedopus MW184 Women's Bows Peep Toe High Heel Platform Ivory Satin Eveing Party shoesthen beats it with a broom, leaving it whimpering away to get the sympathy of the servants. Later, Katherina sneaks up to the dog while it and Grumio sleep to steal its boneIvanka Trump Womens Wareen Leather Rhinestones Fashion Loafers,De Blossom Xara-4 Vegan Leather Casual High Strappy Gladiator Flat Sandal,Tan,9Top Moda Women's Al-5 Military Combat Boots with Faux Lining her hunger absolutely desperate by this point. Later, as a reward, Petruchio gives Katherina some food, but then embraces her and coddles her while Hortensio finishes it off. And increasingly it becomes obvious that Petruchio is treating Katherina exactly like his dog, right down to the whistles and shouts of ‘Here’. Autumn and Winter Flat Women's Boots, Platform Suede High Snow Boots EU35.5-41,Black-CN41
The comedy of the production is sincere, then, but leads to uncomfortable positions. Hunter’s virtuoso physical skills allow her to be tumbled upside down when she fights against Petruchio, and to be carried around the stage in all kinds of undignified postures;KOLHAPURI CHAPPAL Original Traditional Design Seaweed for Women Slipper SandalJJF shoes Women Paola gold Pearl Sparkle Crystal Rhinestone Glitter Evening Dress Pumps-6 yet the audience’s laughter seems to doubly imply both recognition of her skill and enjoyment of her subjugation. The applause of the audience in the archive video after Katherina comes to Petruchio at his command seems sincere, as it the audience are approving the taming. It’s a microcosm of a production in which men are consistently awful throughout, but always mutually congratulatory.
The standout sequence, though, is Katherina’s final speech. At Petruchio’s command,Kenneth Cole Deandra 2 Studded Dress Sandals, gold she gives a speech of a few lines, and gets applause and approval from her husband. But then she goes for another few lines, and another, and another. An increasingly anxious Petruchio tries to get her to be quiet, but she begins exaggerating the speech more and more, getting up on the banquet table and flashing her legs, and finally lying down in a mockery of Petruchio,Women's Sexy Pointed Toe Ankle Boots,Stylish Thin Heels Side Zipper Booties,Fashion Martin BootsFancyww Women's Vintage Round Toe Flat Boots Casual Leather Martin shoes before flouncing offstage.AdeeSu Womens Mid-Calf Wedges Pleated Ribbons Urethane Boots SXC02427 We see a glimpse of them having a fight in Italian, suggesting that Katherina is far from ‘tamed’, and indeed will continue to assert herself against Petruchio indefinitely, even as she learns to play the game of this patriarchal world. It’s a quiet reclamation of the play, but a potent one.