I love that you get two plays with this one—one embedded in the other. We’re initially presented with the drunken tinker Christopher Sly and the Lord and players who decide to play a trick on poor Sly, pretending that Sly is in fact a Lord with a doting “wife”—played by the page, one of the young male players in the troupe. As a means to dissuade Sly from luring his “wife” to bed, they decide to watch a play, the play being what we all know to be the Taming of the Shrew
Even though the major theme of the play from a modern viewpoint could be considered misogynistic and outdated, I still love this play. And when you think about it, that antagonistic relationship between a man and a woman is still very much present in film and TV. For instance, this week on General Hospital
the wedding between Tracy and Luke did mirror that union between Kate and Petruchio. Tracy had to learn to put aside her typical protestations of doubts and fears and take a chance by following her heart, allowing her to go ahead and marry Luke.
The images that you get from reading the play are excellent and a lot of fun. I just love that description of the wedding ceremony: “This done, he took the bride about the neck, and kiss’d her lips with such a clamorous smack; that, at the parting, all the church did echo.” ;) I also love all of the sparing in this play. A lot of these arguments are about silly stuff—whether it’s night or day “The moon! The sun: it is not moonlight now” or whether the figure they see in the road is a man or woman. But you don’t get the sense that Kate’s making a forced submission to her husband—she does enjoy this match of wits and willingly plays along. After all, this is a comedy and a beau geste.