We went to the Shakespeare in the Park production of the Taming of the Shrew at the Delacorte Theatre the other night.
The all female cast which included both Janet McTeer (currently jerking tears in film as Will’s mum in Me Before You) and Cush Jumbo, was superlative.
I won’t jump on the bandwagon just because this is Shakespeare. I know I’m far from the first person to say it, but this misogynistic play is Shakespeare’s worst. Not funny. Not particularly witty. Definitely not romantic. Petruchio “wins” Kate by depriving her of food, sleep and family. That’s not entertainment. That’s torture. It’s just too close to reality.
None of the ugly, crude, weird and lascivious suitors are worthy of Kate or her more mellow sister, Bianca. As Kate makes her final speech at the end of the play about the proper role of a wife, I could hear the sighs and groans around me. Spirited Kate had been diminished and broken.
This production, modern though it is with its all female cast, reminded me that even in 2016, sexism is not a bygone concept. It’s alive and well in New York, the US and all over the world. The use of a Donald Trump sound alike as a carnival barking pageant announcer was jarring more than funny as we listened to him extol the virtues of Bianca the beautiful and biddable contestant/ bride to be. In that moment it hurt to know that Trump is running for the most important office on the planet but that his female staffers are reportedly paid one-third less than their male counterparts in the same roles.
So the show did not transport me anywhere but back to reality. I’ll be voting for Hillary.
At least until Beyonce runs for office.