[pullquote quote="Unfortunately for me (and GLT) you can't really fire a man who has been dead for almost 500 years." credit="Kory"]Great Lakes Theater (formerly Great Lakes Theater Festival) is kicking off it’s 50th season with two shows running concurrently in the historic Hanna Theatre, Cabaret and Taming Of The Shrew. The former was stellar, the latter had me VERY lost.
After much research trying to determine my level, or lack of, sanity on the subject I discovered that I am not the first critic to have problems with William Shakespeare’s attempt at comedy in Shrew. The dialogue comes across rushed and forced and the closing monologue’s patriarchal and misogynistic tone does not translate well to a modern audience. In fact, it may be borderline offensive to any woman who thinks for herself. There are large chunks of the play where the wording is completely incomprehensible and confusing. Unless you have a very quick and easily accessible knowledge of Shakespearean language, you may find yourself checked out before the end of act one. My only problem with this production (which is an important one) is the work itself.
The competence of GLT’s incredible cast and crew is (in fact) the only saving grace for this show. There have been several reincarnations, re-imaginings and re-workings of Shrew that have managed to keep this outdated play ‘above water’ and GLT is no different. The sets, lighting, 80′s pop music, costumes, artistic license with the script and use of the entire Hanna Theatre helped transport the audience into this hard to follow story.
Despite the material, two actors still managed to stand out; Eduardo Placer (Hortensio) and Sara M. Bruner (Katherine) seemed confident in their roles and added their own flare each time they took the stage. Director Tracy Young should without a doubt be given a great deal of credit for taking an outdated, practically foreign language script and making it almost bearable.
It’s not all bad, there are a few laugh out loud moments (primarily from modern updates to the 1500′s script) and the young talented cast more than held their own. In fact, the only person I would fire is the writer. Unfortunately for me (and GLT) you can’t really fire a man who has been dead for almost 500 years. If you like Shakespeare, get your tickets and see this show. If you don’t, skip it and see Cabaret.
For information and tickets head to GreatLakesTheater.org.
The views and opinions of Kory are his alone and do not necessarily represent those of CBS Radio. Please direct comments or questions to Kory@q104.com