Monday, January 31, 2011
The Taming of the Shrew
BBC Time Life Films
This play is my favorite Shakespeare comedy. And, as a fan of Monty Python having John Cleese play Petruchio makes it all the funnier.
Baptista will not allow his saccharine younger daughter Bianca to marry until someone can rid him of his obstreperous older daughter Katherine. The swaggering Petruchio (John Cleese) , eager to wive it wealthily in Padua, agrees to do just this. He proceeds to break her. First, he cools her scalding wit by putting his tongue in her tale; nearly jilts her on her wedding night and then shows up at the church in antic garb; forbids her food, sleep and the beautiful clothes he himself had tailored for her, all on the pretense of providing for her; lastly, commands that she call the sun the moon, the moon the sun, an elderly gentlemen a fresh virgin and then refute her own assertions, all according to his whim.
Meanwhile, Bianca has three suitors: the gray-bearded Gremio, the youngish Hortensio and the young and handsome Lucentio. Lucentio disguises himself as a tutor named Cambio. Hortensio disguises himself as a tutor named Litio. Tranio, Lucentio's servant, disguises himself as Lucentio, at Lucentio's request. A traveling pedant disguises himself as Vincentio, Lucentio's father, also at Luciento's request. Later, the real Vincentio shows up.