fictional Italian setting, Italy which he completely reinvents and could well be any place in the world if not England itself. But the scene is actually set in a gypsy camp in Pugliese's version. However, in Padua, swashbuckler Petruchio carries out his brawny courtship of Katherine, the elder daughter of wealthy Baptista Minola, who is certainly very beautiful but also rough, rude and vulgar, the “shrew” of the title. Petruchio longs for her father’s money and is also stimulated by the challenge Katherine sets to his manhood: he must tame and marry her.
I particularly liked the fact that director Armando Pugliese tried to give this comedy a different approach. First of all he doesn’t cut off, as it often happens, the frame story introducing Christopher Sly, the poor drunk tinker tricked by a group of lords who make him believe he’s extremely rich and make him watch the staging of “The Taming of the Shrew” as a gift or a trick.
The frame story hasn’t got an explanation or an end in Shakespeare - where there is no epilogue after Katherine's surrender - but it has in Pugliese’s staging. The story has , in fact, been slightly changed. Dressed in fine clothes, Sly falls asleep in the elegant residence he believes his own, while waiting for the company of actors to perform a play for him. He sleeps and in his dreams he is Petruchio and “The Taming of the Shrew” is ... what happens in his dream.
We saw The Taming of the Shrew at Teatro Quirino, Rome, on Thursday afternoon, December 15.
The cast: Vanessa Gravina (Caterina), Edoardo Siravo (Christopher Sly, Petruccio), Giulio Farnese (Battista), Carlo di Maio ( Gremio, il sartore) , Vito Facciolla (primo servo, Grumio) , Gianluca Enria (capocomico, Nicola, pedante, Vincenzo), Elisabetta Alma (ostessa, Curzia), Emanuela Trovato (Bianca), Alberto Caramel (Ortensio), Stefano Vona Bianchini (Tranio, Giuseppe) , Maurizio Tomacello (Lucensio, terzo servo, Filippo), Valentina D'Andrea ( secondo servo, Pandora, la vedova).
Before watching the play at the theatre, we had some interesting lessons reading from the play and about the play, seeing scenes from Zeffirelli's film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (1967) and from BBC Shakespeare Re-told, The Taming of the Shrew (2005), with Shirley Henderson and Rufus Sewell. Tomorrow we'll have a final discussion on some of the themes and motifs.