Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shakespeare in the Park

Reading a play and watching it are two altogether different things. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but when I studied Taming of the Shrew in high school, my reading brought an entirely different interpretation. I recalled a play where the woman was chastened by love; her speech at the end wasn't an ode to obedience so much as it was the softening of ego.

Seeing it tonight I couldn't help but think it was an interesting selection for a 21st century audience. There were a few 'modern' twists, with a same-sex couple Bianca and 'Lucencia,' but the taming of the shrew was more than a bit disturbing, with physical torments of hunger, sleep deprivation and mental cruelty. When Katherine speaks on command to deliver her closing soliliquuy she is indeed a changed soul.

I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace,
Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,
Whey they are bound to serve, love, and obey.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
Come, come, you froward and unable worms,
My mind hath been as big as one of yours,
My heart as great, my reason haply more,
To bandy word for word and frown for frown.
But now I see our lances are but straws,
Our strength as weak, our weakness past compare,
That seeming to be most which we indeed least are.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot,
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready, may it do him ease. 

I had been hoping for some irony, for how could such a sexist message go unchallenged? In the end, the way they dealt with it was to have Petruchio's face reveal his regret for the change, as Kate place her open palm under his boot. She then stands, stiffens and then runs into the dark night, off the stage. By 'taming' her, Petruchio loses her, in the end.

Interesting interpretation.

We enjoyed a picnic before the play with Mike and Kaarina. Very tasty watermelon soup, with cilantro and a nice spicy tang and cucumber garnish. Pizza. Goat cheese, raspberries and pinot noir.

I had the most comfy seat ever - first row, legs stretched out. The heat was so oppressive (30 degrees), I felt sorry for the actors when they had to wear the heavier costumes, like wedding dresses and three piece suits. Sitting close you could see the sweat dripping.

Recipe for Watermelon Soup

4 cups watermelon liquified in food processor
1 cup each cucumber, red pepper, sweet onion coarsely chopped in processor
2 tbsp each sherry vinegar, lemon or lime juice
1-2 tsp Thai hot sauce, adjust to taste

To serve, plain yogurt sparked up withlime zest or tzatziki. Chopped mint or basil.

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