The main action of The Taming of the Shrew takes place as a play within the play, performed for the benefit of a drunken tinker, Christopher Sly. Baptista Minola, a wealthy widower of Padua... See full summary »
In sixteenth century Padua, Hortensio loves Bianca, the youngest daughter of Baptista. But Baptista will not allow the two to get married until his eldest daughter, the extremely headstrong... See full summary »
Shakespeare as a Soap Opera (or Just As He Would Have Liked It)
People forget that Shakespeare was essentially a genre writer. Today he would more likely have been whipping out episodes of Mad About You or Another World than penning Merchant/Ivory pics.
So while this version's visual approach of being lit and edited like a soap opera may take some getting used to, the approach is not as much of a stretch as it might at first seem. Yes, at first glance, it's easy to dismiss the production values as cheesy, since the approach is so unlike what we have come to expect of televised and filmed Shakespeare. But ultimately the more "common" visuals help clarify the play's meaning.
And while the acting styles are a little uneven - the leads generally maintain a daytime soap sensibility grounded in realism while some supporting characters play with much more broad, theatrical strokes - the direction pushes the story forward at a breakneck pace. The constant movement imbues the bard's words with contemporary energy.
This is actually a great version to show high school students - the relationships are clear and identifiable, the language is kept intact but made accessible through the medium, and the fast paced direction will keeps interest high.
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