The Taming of the Shrew

by William Shakespeare







Valery Petrov
Staged and directed
Staiko Murdjev
Scenography and costumes
Petya Boyukova
Petar Dundakov
Stage movement
Stanislav Genadiev
Stage speech and Shakespearean speech
Sava Dragunchev
Circus art and acrobatics training
Galina Riom-Roibek and Mihail Raichev
Pole dance training
Gloria Todorova
Training rollers
Ilian Georgiev
Ivan Donchev
Yavor Dimitrov (graphic design) and Georgi Vachev (photo)


The play "The Taming of the Shrew" by the director Staiko Murdjev in the Drama Theater - Plovdiv presents a modern reading of Shakespeare's comedy with the means of vivid theatrical expressiveness. Modernization goes beyond the common stage approach of "updating" classic works through modern costumes, interiors and music. The play taps into the current intellectual debate about the differences (or not) and the struggle (if any) between the sexes.

The play "The Taming of the Shrew" (1593) tells of the courtship and marriage of the two daughters (Bianca and Katherine) of Baptista Minola, a wealthy citizen of Padua. The younger daughter Bianca, who is beautiful, gentle and kind, is the object of the affections and desires of three characters (Lucentio, Gremio and Hortensio), but her father sends them away because he wants to marry first his older daughter Caterina, who has bad temper and aggressive language. Gremio and Hortensio set out to find a man for Caterina to "clear" their way to Bianca. Lucentio, a young man from Pisa, falls in love with her sincerely and at first sight, who exchanges clothes and his name with his servant Tranio and manages to take a place as Bianca's teacher.

The main storyline builds upon the courtship of Petruchio and Katherine. Petruchio has arrived in Padua a Veronese, accompanied by his servant Grumio and friend of Hortensio. The character clearly articulates the purpose of his journey: to get married and get rich. Hortensio sees in this his goal an opportunity to find a husbad for Katherine
and introduces her to Petruchio thus:

I can, Petruchio, help thee to a wife
With wealth enough, and young and beauteous,
Brought up as best becomes a gentlewoman.
Her only fault, and that is faults enough,
Is that she is intolerable curst,
And shrewd, and froward, so beyond all measure
That, were my state far worser than it is,
I would not wed her for a mine of gold.

This description does not faze Petruchio, and despite an expectedly poor reception from Katherine, he proposes to her. Scenes of Katherine's "taming" follow - Petruchio is late for his own wedding, arrives in tattered clothes and with a dying horse; after the wedding, neglecting the wedding celebration, he leaves immediately with Katherine to his home, where he subjects his wife to various psychological and physical tests. In the finale, Petruchio, Lucentio and Hortensio make a bet to see which woman is "the most submissive". Besides Petruchio winning, Katherine delivers a monologue in defense of the "submissive" wife.

Taming of the Shrew has everything characteristic of Shakespeare's comedies - disguises, reversal of roles, the theme of love, love at first sight, etc. Researchers of Shakespeare's work do not seem to pay much attention to this comedy, but its stage (operas, ballet productions, musicals, theater performances) and screen adaptations are numerous.

"The Taming of the Shrew" presents us with a modern stage interpretation that reflects on current topics with a smile and humor, with a vivid theatrical expressiveness, which makes the performance rich and totally impactful.