Shakespeare Uncovered: The Taming of the Shrew with Morgan Freeman

Shakespeare Uncovered

Is it sexist or subversive? Morgan Freeman says he’s always seen The Taming of the Shrew as a country tale, one that he feels is Shakespeare’s most compelling comedy. In the next episode of Shakespeare Uncovered, Freeman takes a look at the play and explores that question, as well as what is at the heart of it all.

We hear from some of the women who have played Katherine and their views about the controversial role, among them Fiona Shaw (RSC 1987), Sinead Cusack (RSC 1982), and Tracy Ullman, who was Kate to Freeman’s Petruchio in The Public Theater’s 1990 Shakespeare in the Park production in New York. That version of Shrew was set in the Old West, a location that Freeman says has more in common with Shakespeare than you might think.

Guests also include writer Germaine Greer, Dr. Farah Karim-Cooper, Head of Courses & Research at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Oxford University Professors Jonathan Bate and Laurie Maguire who offer insightful comments about the play. The story is often uncomfortable for audiences in this century because it is viewed through a different social context than it was in Shakespeare’s time. Maguire talks about how polarizing interpretations of the play can be and how pace affects the way the comedy plays. We also learn what Shakespeare might really be saying about women (and marriage), and the significance of Katherine’s final speech, the longest of any of the characters in the entire play.  More

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