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.AmoonyFashion Women's Buckle Patent Leather Square Toe Kitten-Heels Pumps-shoesAmoonyFashion Women's High-Heels Patent Leather Solid Buckle Open-Toe Sandals.1TO9 Womens Bucket-Style Solid Platform Urethane Boots MNS029861TO9 Womens Bucket-Style Casual Travel Urethane Boots MNS02957.
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, Gedigits Women's Dressy Pendant Side Zipper Ankle Booties Pointed Toe Chunky High Heel Short Boots Black 7.5 M USAmoonyFashion Women's Cow Leather Solid Buckle Open Toe No-Heel Sandalsis 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,AN Womens Pointed-Toe Bows Cow Leather Pumps shoes DGU00813Nine West Women's Charles Suede 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, Kyle Walsh Pa Women Rainbow Sandals Peep Toe Stiletto Ladies Fashion Stylish Pumps shoesALLAK Women's Winter Fur Lined Frosty Snow Bootsthen 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 boneINC International Concepts I35 Zaliaa Pull-On Over-The-Knee Boots, Black,Ellie 557-LEA 5 Chunky Heel SandalCYBLING Womens Running Sneakers Lightweight Breathable Flynit Sport Tennis Walking Athletic shoes 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’. Katy Perry Womens The Jo Pump
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;Davikey Women's PU Ankle-high Solid Pull-On High-Heels BootsOwaheson Classic Canvas Slip-On Lightweight Driving shoes Soft Penny Loafers Men Women Guatemala Flag 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,Marc Fisher Womens Zala2 Pointed Toe Classic Pumps 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,Owaheson Classic Canvas Slip-On Lightweight Driving shoes Soft Penny Loafers Men Women Indonesia Flag National EmblemCrocs Womens Ladies Citilane Roka Graphic Slip On shoes before flouncing offstage.1TO9 Womens Spikes Stilettos Low-Cut Uppers Pointed-Toe Urethane Pumps shoes 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.