In my opinion, Shakespeare wrote The Taming of the Shrew as a genre comedy that just happened to involve the “taming” of a young wife. He was working from a pre-made plot, common at the time, and incorporating comic conventions that called for disguise and marital transaction. There was no need to be psychological about Kate’s conversion at the end of the play, or to provide Bianca and her suitors with realistic motives for their intrigues. But ever since Shakespeare, directors have wrestled with how to stage this play, just as audiences and critics have struggled to interpret it. When Ed Sylvanus Iskandar told me he wanted to direct Shrew, I had to ask him: Why? What do you think this play means? I wanted to share a few thoughts with you on Ed and his exciting ideas for this production:
As you may know, this season has been partly about new experiences. We have prided ourselves on presenting productions of classical works that enlighten and entertain, but that also make us look at the plays very, very differently. We have collaborated with artists from all over the world, each with different ways of working, with differing notions of what makes theatre vital, and I think we all learned a great deal. Most of all, we have a thoughtful, committed and smart audience who keeps coming, no matter how we challenge them. Above all, we’re very grateful to you.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.