Thursday, September 29, 2011

Taming of the Shrew in Performance

In our weekly seminar, we were joined by esteemed director Lucy Bailey, who is set to direct January's production of The Taming of the Shrew at the Royal Shakespeare Company. In order to aid her research of the play, several fellows of the institute lectured on various points concerning the neighboring texts, domestic duties of the 16th century and sources related to the play.

First, Michael Dobson explained the "neighboring texts" of the time - most notably The Taming of A Shrew, The Woman's Prize or The Tamer Tamed (1611), Sauny the Scott or the Taming of the Shrew (1667), A Cure for a Scold (1735), and Catherine and Petruchio (1754).

Next the lovely Tara Hamling spoke a bit about domestic duties of the time and the implication of furniture in the home. What I found most interesting is the concept of a person's bed being symbolic of wealth and representative of a person's life cycle. You are born in bed. You sleep and fornicate in your bed. Ultimately you die in your bed. This is a concept that will be explored the the upcoming RSC production which will include a literal or figurative bed as part of the stage design.

Martin Wiggins finished up the findings with an extensive list of sources Shakespeare likely used to compose The Taming of the Shrew - All of which are a little outside my knowledge base and have prompted me to conduct a massage Google Search on the subject.

This particular topic of the week has sparked my interest and I may investigate how to incorporate such dramaturgy products into my dissertation work.

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