Randomity: Play report for Drama

Occaisonally our drama teacher likes to torture us (*g*) with an offbeat performance of something. This time it was an old Comedia del Arte performance of the Taming of the Shrew.

 

Live Performance Report:
The Taming Of The Shrew

1. The production we watched in Drama Class starred many people, one of which is a former Lincoln student, but his name escapes me at the moment.

2. I thought the general “feel” of the place was very jovial and laid-back. I really liked how the set was very bare and very non-specific, so that it actually worked for any place
they wanted to say it was. For me to know where they were all they had to do was act a little different and their lines filled in the rest. I liked the sound effects, though they were
a bit zany at times. The simpleness of the set really made the actors the main focus, I think.

3. The costumes were at times a bit distracting, like the one Petruchio wore with the two flat pieces of fabric on his chest that are fastened to his body so a huge portion of his
chest were showing. I kept focusing on the oddity of that particular garment, and I kept trying to figure out what it is supposed to be or mean. I loved how the servant-people
were all dressed in those chef-like outfits with the black masks and everything. The ribbons of some of the garment added a certain whimisical quality to the whole production. I also liked the costumes of the people of the town, though when they showed them the camera did not linger long.

4. For the most part, I completely forgot that these were actors playing the characters. A couple of times I focused on how they delivered a certain line or made a certain gesture and how it seemed somehow “off” but that only occured to me while watching Lucentio and Petruchio. It happened a couple times while watching Kate deliver her lines because of her very odd, low voice. Other than those few, rare exceptions, I thought it was very, very well acted.

5. Oh I loved the choreography of the scenes! They were all done in such a manner that it was, generally, very humorous. I really liked the scene with Kate and Petruchio when he is tossing her around and they’re doing all these acrobatics, and the scene afterward when Petruchio is talking to Baptista and all the while throwing Kate around. The blocking in all of the scenes was done so well it’s hard to pick another favorite scene. The play moved quite quickly for the most part. I thought it was well suited for the mood they were attempting to create, and really I wouldn’t change it at all.

6. I think there were a few interesting things done with voice with the play. First, there was Kate with her harsh sounding, low, yet regal and commanding voice. It really brought out the character, I thought. Bianca, on the other hand, had a really high, whispery, lofty voice that just cried “innocent maiden” everytime she spoke. It was also very carefree sounding, though, which almost made her seem “air-headish,” however she wasn’t exactly a genius or anything. The old man, whose name escapes me, had a humorous, raspy voice that fit with his interpretation of the character. Hortensio had a higher, whiney voice, which really fit his character, it seemed, because he was kind of the kisser-upper type and the voice really seemed to fit. All the different voices really made each character seem different and brought a little variation to the entire play.

7. It seemed like the actors had all been working together on it for a long time, not doing individual work and then coming together at the end to do it. They all seemed to be doing
the play in the same style, and with the same interpretations of the play.

8. The audience (we were in the auditorium) was very reluctant to watch at first because of they wacky sound effects and distractingly tight leggings, but I think after a while they realized that that was the style of acting and the style of the play, and for the most part they just realized it was supposed to be fun.

9. The theme of The Taming of the Shrew is that wives should be obedient and slaves to their husbands, but this production was really about entertainment, rather than giving a message to the audience. True, the theme was important, but the prevailing mood of the play suggests the play is mostly for entertainment value.

10. All the expressions on the characters’ faces were memorable, as well as the strange sound effects accompanying everything. The most memorable thing of the play was probably the choreography and elaborate acrobatics, like the scene between Petruchio and Kate.