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.SUNNY Store Suede Ankle Flat Bootie Women Tassels Floral Round Toe Winter Warm Snow shoes(Beige-9.5 M US)Pleaser Women's Teeze-12-3 Platform Pump Beige.AmoonyFashion Women's Pu Mid Top Solid Pull On Kitten Heels BootsAmoonyFashion Women's Low-Heels Assorted color Buckle Frosted Split-Toe Sandals.
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, NNHLPO& Genuine Leather Sheepskin Platform Summer Sandals High Heels Party GladiatorAllhqFashion Women's High-Heels Soft Material Mid-top Solid Pull-on Bootsis 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,AmoonyFashion Women's Open-Toe Buckle Cowhide Solid Kitten-Heels SandalsAmoonyFashion Women's Open Toe Buckle Sheepskin Solid High Heels Sandals 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, AmoonyFashion Women's Split Toe Buckle Blend Materials Assorted color Low Heels SandalsAmoonyFashion Womens Round Closed Toe High Heels Synthetic Solid Boots with Zippers, Brown, 7.5 B(M) USthen 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 boneAmoonyFashion Womens Closed Pointed Toe Soft Material Cow Leather PU Solid Flats, Black, 7.5 B(M) US,Women's Fur Wedge Platform Ankle Boots Fashion Winter Warm Plus Hiking Snow BootA-LING Women's Comfortable Bow Point Toe Flat Pumps Slip On 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’. York Zhu Women Loafers,Fashion Crystal Rhinestone Slip-On Comfortable Casual Flat shoes
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;A&N Womens Lace-Up Fur Collar Platform Imitated Leather BootsSENFI Women Summer Bohemia Elastic Strappy String Sandals,WSF01,Brown.40 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,WeenFashion Women's Low-top Zipper Frosted Low-Heels Round Closed Toe Boots 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,AdeeSu Womens Pointed-Toe Chunky Heels No-Closure Suede Pumps shoesStyle & Co Seleste Women US 11 Black Peep Toe Heels before flouncing offstage.WeenFashion Women's Soft Material Round Closed Toe Assorted color Low-top High-Heels Boots 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.