Plays and Playwriting, anyone?

The Taming of The Shrew - Rehearsals

We went to see ‘The Taming of The Shrew’ at the RSC last night (ooh, get me, big-fat-show-off! Only went because we’re lucky enough to live half an hour from Stratford and as it was a preview night, our friends, who live in Stratford, can get cheap tickets!).

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.

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6 Responses to Plays and Playwriting, anyone?

  1. Prue says:

    A boo or hiss would have sufficed, methinks.

  2. Lauren says:

    Do you think, from the starter line they’ve given, that’s the writing should not be in script form?

    • Lauren – hmm, it’s not clear, is it? And there’s nothing in the rules that tell you! Sorry, I don’t know! Perhaps they’re not too worried about how it’s laid out and will be judging it on content and style? Good luck if you’re going to enter!

  3. Stephanie Holliday says:

    Thanks, always god to know about free comps.
    If you follow the link to the Cross site it says’discover your inner playwright’ so I assume they want it as a script but its not clear.

  4. Maggie May says:

    Hello Helen, I often pop over to your blog. I’m surprised to see that your snowman hasn’t melted yet. You obviously love Christmas. Take care.

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