This past Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing Greenstage’s The Taming of the Shrew. With the show being one of my favorite Shakespearean comedies, it was unfortunate that the performance came off as obnoxiously silly, rather than the smart farce I was hoping for. This was due to a directional vision that tended to favor performances that were loud and energetic, rather than relatable.
The performances tended to turn into caricatures to a point where they no longer seemed believable. While this can work for certain scenes or singular characters, it becomes tiring when implemented for the entirety of a show. The Taming of the Shrew works because the characters are constantly at odds with each other, when something goes wrong, they are surprised and visibly hurt. This allows the audience to take the plot seriously and to laugh at the ridiculous predicaments these individuals are caught in.
For instance, the classic example of tripping on a banana peel does not work if the victim bounces up and does a pirouette afterwards. Such is the issue with Greenstage’s The Taming of the Shrew, the character’s grievances primarily appear as a contorted face or a dramatic spasm of woe.
This is not to say that the show was a tragedy, it is free to view, so I cannot say it was not worth the price. Furthermore, the costuming and use of the set was well done, lending itself well to a challenging park setting. However, it remained clear that while the cast was talented and passionate, they were misdirected.
The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare. Greenstage, Free Shakespeare in the Park. July 12, 2019 till August 17, 2019. Check Location: https://greenstage.org/the-taming-of-the-shrew/