The Taming of The Shrew
Crescent Theatre (Studio)
Sheepcote Street, Birmingham, West Midlands B16 8AE
The Taming of the Shrew
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Suzy Catliff
Casting by Danièle Sanderson
What happens when you take the sexual stereotypes out of this particular 'problem' play? Does it end up being his-story or her-story?
This is a matriarchy where it's the sons who need to be married off to the highest bidder...
What does that do to the play itself? Does it change the audience’s perception of the play and its themes?
The play transports you into a matriarchy – through the device of Christopher’s Sly’s dream – where brothers Kit and Ben, need to be married off to the highest bidder by their mother, Biondella. What happens next is a comedy of mistaken identity, clever servants and their dim mistresses and the central issue of will Kit ever by tamed by his tamer, Petruchia?
"I've always wanted to explore the idea of cross casting 'The Taming of the Shrew', this led to a reading of the play with a group of actors to hear what it sounded like and whether it might work.
Not only was it great fun but proved that it does work - and it was through this reading that I decided that the cross-casting needed to take the form of not boys playing girls/girls playing boys but actually turning the whole thing on its head and setting the play in a parallel universe where it is a matriarchy rather than a patriarchy.
Following on from this initial workshop, we took it as a rehearsed reading to the Henley Fringe Festival, where it got a very favourable response from the audience and reviewers.
What we unlocked in our cross-cast version, is what fun the play is - a real 'carry on capers' scenario, silly, full of energy and life.
By reversing the roles it gives the girls an opportunity to take risks, explore the text and revel in their roles but at the same time, it inevitably examines the boys lack of power and voice - so what is it really saying about the roles of men and women in society?"
“Suzy Catliff’s production was entertaining and fascinating. Hearing the text from a different gender perspective somehow works without losing the meaning……It certainly strikes a note as to the lack of female parts when this play is reversed and what is a joy to watch is the women have the opportunity to play more principal roles.”
Greg Smith – Broadway Baby