The Taming of the Shrew

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor
Part of the A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance Series book series (DSP)


Nagle Jacksons [production] was fascinating because he did things with the play that I’ve always wanted to see tried. To begin with, Mr. Jackson emphasized the concept of the “play-within-a play,” rightly asserting that Shrew is about people who play roles, who are not what they seem to be. All of the Sly scenes … were included… As Sly turned for home to tame his own shrewish wife, he saw the troupe of players leaving town. A Jack Benny take, and the point was well made: “Do I dream? Or have I dream’d till now?” The players, as they began their performance, adopted an artificial, declamatory style which was later dropped. But, periodically, they reminded us of their assumption of roles by breaking character to awaken Sly, move props, etc. All of the parts, with the exception of Katharina and Petruchio, were overplayed, which created an excellent framework for the emergence of the love story which is at the heart of the play. I dont think this is what Shakespeare had in mind, but I loved Jacksons treatment of Bianca. Instead of the lovely, obedient ingénue, Judy Mueller was a spoiled, obnoxious Papa’s pet who saw to it that she always got her own way; She flirted with everyone in sight, and, by the last scene, when the tipsy Bianca turned into a brassy broad, we realized that the real shrew had yet to be tamed. By contrast, Katherina was positively lovable. Any normal, intelligent girl would indeed have been driven to distraction by a sister like Bianca. Finally, away from an intolerable home situation and discovering security in the assurance of Petruchio’s love, her natural humility and gentleness were able to come to the surface. Elizabeth Huddle and Laurence Guittard were dynamic and touching in their roles.


Manor House Festival Director Street Scene Love Story Final Scene 
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Copyright information

© Katharine Goodland and John O’Connor 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor

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