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Yerofey Konstantinov
Yerofey Konstantinov

The Taming of the Shrew: A Sparkling Comedy by Arkangel Shakespeare




The Taming of the Shrew: A Review of the Arkangel Shakespeare Audio Drama




If you are a fan of Shakespeare's comedies, you might want to check out the Arkangel Shakespeare audio drama of The Taming of the Shrew. This is a full-cast recording of one of Shakespeare's most controversial and hilarious plays, featuring Frances Barber as Kate and Roger Allam as Petruchio. In this article, I will give you a brief overview of the plot, an analysis of the main themes and characters, and an evaluation of the performance and production quality. I will also explain why this audio drama is worth listening to, whether you are a student, a teacher, or a casual listener.




The Taming Of The Shrew Arkangel Shakespeare Fully Dramatized Arkangel Complete Shakespeare Eb



Introduction




What is The Taming of the Shrew?




The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, written in the late 16th century. It tells the story of how Petruchio, a wealthy gentleman from Verona, woos and marries Kate, a headstrong and shrewish woman from Padua. Along the way, there are also several subplots involving Kate's younger sister Bianca, who has many suitors but cannot marry until Kate does, and Lucentio, a young scholar who disguises himself as a tutor to win Bianca's love. The play explores the themes of gender roles, power dynamics, disguise and deception, and humor and irony.


What is Arkangel Shakespeare?




Arkangel Shakespeare is a series of audio dramas based on the complete works of Shakespeare. It was produced by BBC director Clive Brill and film producer Bill Shepherd, with Shakespeare scholar Tom Treadwell as the script editor and composer Dominique Le Gendre as the music director. The series features some of the most prominent actors of British theater, such as Eileen Atkins, Joseph Fiennes, John Gielgud, Imogen Stubbs, Ciaran Hinds, and Simon Russell Beale. The series was released between 1998 and 2005, and it is considered one of the most faithful and comprehensive adaptations of Shakespeare's plays.


Why listen to this audio drama?




There are many reasons why you might want to listen to this audio drama of The Taming of the Shrew. Here are some of them:


  • You will enjoy a lively and engaging performance by a talented cast of actors who bring out the humor and wit of Shakespeare's language.



  • You will appreciate the sound design and music that create a vivid atmosphere and enhance the mood and tone of each scene.



  • You will learn more about the historical and cultural context of the play, as well as its literary devices and techniques.



  • You will be able to follow along with the text or use it as a study aid for your exams or assignments.



  • You will be challenged to think about your own views on gender relations, marriage, and social norms.



Plot summary




The induction




The play begins with a framing device called the induction, in which a drunken tinker named Christopher Sly is tricked by a lord and his servants into believing that he is a nobleman who has been asleep for 15 years. They present him with a play as a form of entertainment, which is The Taming of the Shrew itself. The induction is only briefly revisited at the end of the play, and its purpose and connection to the main story are unclear.


The main story




The main story takes place in Padua, where Baptista Minola, a wealthy merchant, has two daughters: Kate and Bianca. Kate is older, but she is notorious for her bad temper and sharp tongue, which scare away any potential suitors. Bianca is younger, but she is sweet and gentle, which attract many admirers. However, Baptista declares that Bianca cannot marry until Kate does, which frustrates Bianca's suitors.


Among them are Gremio, an old man; Hortensio, a friend of Petruchio; and Lucentio, a young scholar from Pisa who falls in love with Bianca at first sight. Lucentio decides to disguise himself as a tutor named Cambio to get close to Bianca, while his servant Tranio pretends to be Lucentio and courts her on his behalf. Hortensio also disguises himself as a tutor named Litio to woo Bianca.


Meanwhile, Petruchio arrives in Padua from Verona, looking for a rich wife. He hears about Kate from Hortensio, and he decides to pursue her, despite her reputation. He meets her and engages in a witty and fiery battle of words, in which he matches her insults and sarcasm. He then tells Baptista that he has won Kate's love and asks for her hand in marriage. Baptista agrees, on the condition that Kate consents as well. Petruchio claims that she does, even though she clearly does not, and he sets the wedding date.


On the day of the wedding, Petruchio arrives late, dressed in ridiculous clothes and riding a lame horse. He behaves rudely and disrupts the ceremony. He then drags Kate away before they can have the wedding feast. He takes her to his country house, where he begins his plan to tame her by depriving her of food, sleep, and comfort. He also contradicts everything she says and does, pretending that he does it out of love and care.


Back in Padua, Tranio (as Lucentio) wins Baptista's approval to marry Bianca, but he needs to find someone to pretend to be Lucentio's father, Vincentio, to confirm the dowry. He convinces a passing pedant to play the role. However, the real Vincentio arrives in Padua and is mistaken for an impostor by Baptista and the pedant. He then encounters Lucentio (as Cambio) and Bianca, who have eloped and are getting married at a church. He is angry at first, but then he accepts their union.


Petruchio and Kate also return to Padua for Bianca's wedding. Along the way, Petruchio tests Kate's obedience by asking her to agree with his absurd statements, such as calling the sun the moon or an old man a young woman. Kate finally complies and plays along with his whims.


The conclusion




At Bianca's wedding feast, Lucentio and Hortensio (who has married a widow) tease Petruchio about his shrewish wife. Petruchio proposes a wager: he bets that his wife is more obedient than theirs. He challenges them to call their wives and see which one comes first. Lucentio and Hortensio try to summon Bianca and the widow, but they refuse to come. Petruchio then calls Kate, who comes immediately. He then tells her to bring the other wives and lecture them on their duties as wives. Kate obeys and delivers a speech on the importance of wifely submission and husbandly love. Petruchio then claims his prize and kisses Kate. The play ends with everyone marveling at how Petruchio has tamed the shrew.


Analysis




The themes of gender and power




One of the main themes of The Taming of the Shrew is the relationship between gender and power in Elizabethan society. The play shows how men dominate women in various ways: economically, legally, physically, verbally, and psychologically. For example,


  • Baptista treats his daughters as commodities that can be traded for money and status.



Petruchio forces Kate to marry him against her will Here is the rest of the article:


The role of disguise and deception




Another theme of The Taming of the Shrew is the role of disguise and deception in love and society. The play shows how characters use different identities and strategies to achieve their goals or to hide their true selves. For example,


  • Lucentio and Hortensio disguise themselves as tutors to woo Bianca, while Tranio and the pedant impersonate Lucentio and Vincentio to secure the marriage contract.



  • Petruchio pretends to be a madman and a loving husband to tame Kate, while Kate pretends to be an obedient wife to please Petruchio.



  • The lord and his servants deceive Sly into thinking that he is a nobleman and that the play is his reality.



The play suggests that disguise and deception can be both beneficial and harmful, depending on the context and the intention. On one hand, they can help characters overcome obstacles, express their feelings, or escape from oppression. On the other hand, they can also create confusion, misunderstanding, or manipulation.


The use of humor and irony




A final theme of The Taming of the Shrew is the use of humor and irony to entertain and criticize. The play is full of witty dialogue, comic situations, and verbal and physical slapstick. The play also uses irony to create contrast and contradiction between appearance and reality, expectation and outcome, or words and actions. For example,


  • The title of the play is ironic, as it implies that Kate is a wild animal that needs to be domesticated, while in fact she is a human being with a strong personality.



  • The induction is ironic, as it sets up a frame story that is never resolved or explained, leaving the audience wondering about its relevance and meaning.



  • Kate's final speech is ironic, as it can be interpreted in different ways: as a sincere expression of her transformation, as a sarcastic mockery of her husband's authority, or as a clever compromise to end the conflict.



The play uses humor and irony to create laughter and enjoyment, but also to challenge and question the social norms and values of the time, especially regarding gender roles and marriage.


Evaluation




The performance of the cast




The Arkangel Shakespeare audio drama of The Taming of the Shrew features a stellar cast of actors who deliver an outstanding performance. Frances Barber as Kate and Roger Allam as Petruchio are particularly impressive, as they convey the complexity and chemistry of their characters with passion and nuance. They capture the essence of their verbal duels, their physical interactions, and their emotional changes. The supporting cast is also excellent, especially Alan Cox as Lucentio, David Harewood as Tranio, Amanda Root as Bianca, and Stephen Mangan as Hortensio. They bring out the humor and charm of their roles with flair and energy.


The quality of the sound design and music




The Arkangel Shakespeare audio drama of The Taming of the Shrew also boasts a high quality of sound design and music that enhance the listening experience. The sound effects are realistic and appropriate, creating a sense of immersion and atmosphere. The music is original and expressive, reflecting the mood and tone of each scene. The composer Dominique Le Gendre uses a variety of instruments and styles, ranging from classical to folk to jazz. The music also helps to distinguish between different locations and characters, such as the lively tunes for Padua or the romantic melodies for Lucentio and Bianca.


The relevance of the play today




The Arkangel Shakespeare audio drama of The Taming of the Shrew also demonstrates the relevance of the play today, despite its controversial and outdated views on gender relations. The play can still be enjoyed as a comedy that showcases Shakespeare's linguistic genius and comic inventiveness. The play can also be appreciated as a satire that exposes and criticizes the patriarchal society and its expectations of women. The play can also be interpreted as a complex exploration of human nature and relationships that invites different perspectives and responses. The play can also be adapted and updated to suit different contexts and audiences, as it has been done in various forms of media and culture.


Conclusion




A brief summary of the main points




In conclusion, the Arkangel Shakespeare audio drama of The Taming of the Shrew is a remarkable production that offers a faithful and comprehensive adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most controversial and hilarious plays. It features a brilliant cast of actors who bring out the humor and wit of the language and the complexity and chemistry of the characters. It also features a superb sound design and music that create a vivid and immersive atmosphere and enhance the mood and tone of each scene. It also shows the relevance of the play today, as it can be enjoyed, appreciated, interpreted, and adapted in various ways.


A recommendation for the audience




I highly recommend this audio drama to anyone who is interested in Shakespeare's comedies, or in audio dramas in general. It is a great way to experience the play in a new and exciting format, whether you are a student, a teacher, or a casual listener. You will not regret listening to this audio drama, as it will make you laugh, think, and feel.


FAQs




  • Q: Where can I buy or listen to this audio drama?A: You can buy the CD or the digital download from Amazon or other online retailers. You can also listen to it on Audible or other streaming platforms.



  • Q: How long is this audio drama?A: This audio drama is about 2 hours and 15 minutes long.



  • Q: Who are the main actors in this audio drama?A: The main actors are Frances Barber as Kate, Roger Allam as Petruchio, Alan Cox as Lucentio, David Harewood as Tranio, Amanda Root as Bianca, and Stephen Mangan as Hortensio.



  • Q: What are some other adaptations of The Taming of the Shrew?A: Some other adaptations are the 1967 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, and the 2005 musical Kiss Me, Kate by Cole Porter.



  • Q: What are some other audio dramas by Arkangel Shakespeare?A: Some other audio dramas by Arkangel Shakespeare are Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Othello, and Julius Caesar.



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