Anyway, it was great. The theatre’s new and very ‘Globe-ish’ and Shakespearean and we were sitting about two feet from the action and the production was amazing: there were bare chests (male), ‘glimpses of nudity’ (as the poster on the theatre wall coyly warned us), lots of fights and laughs and at one point someone ..err… ‘relieved’ themselves (very realistically!) on stage. I thought the two actors who played Petruchio and Kate were fantastic.
But then, at the end, there’s that speech. (Spoiler alert here if you don’t want to know the ending…!)
You know the one. When Kate, the ‘Shrew’ – finally battered, starved and mentally-tortured into submission – obeys her husband’s ‘command’ that she should come to him (thus winning him a bet. Nice) and then tells the other women, “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee – “ and that women are “bound to serve, love, and obey.” And which ends with her kneeling at Petruchio’s feet, offering her hand (for him to stand on, perhaps?). Hmm, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh – or to shout out my objections but it made me feel very uncomfortable and well, to be honest, it spoiled the whole story for me.
Apparently, this speech (the longest one in the play) “has perplexed critics, audiences, and students for centuries.” So it’s not just me, then.
As writers, we’re told it’s important that our main characters should have ‘changed’ by the end but I don’t want my heroine to change because she’s brainwashed and I don’t want my hero to be a bullying, insensitive brute (OK, he did have a very nice chest but he was still a brute).
Apparently, sometimes this scene is played by Kate with irony – and that would have been better, I think.
Tut, tut, Mr Shakespeare, what were you thinking….?!
Anyway, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a playwright and you want to have a go at a competition (closing date 14th Feb!) that the RSC is running – have a look here.
They give you the first couple of lines of a scene and you just (just!) have to complete it in no more than 600 words. And it’s free to enter.
The Winner will receive an Experience Day with the RSC, the RSC’s Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a limited edition RSC 50th Anniversary paper weight, Cross merchandise and tickets to The Heresy of Love at The Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon on Thursday 8th March 2012.
The 5 runners up will each receive tickets to The Heresy of Love on the above date, an RSC Notebook and a Cross Pen.