Reviews

The Brief Sun Flames the Ice

The set, designed by Riccardo Hernandez, is extraordinary.  Snow falls throughout, first in large heaps and then intermittently, its color reflected in the large white arches and pale furniture; the actors, dwarfed by their monochromatic surroundings, bring a little relief with their colorful costumes.  But the main effect—a sheet of white peppered with spots of […]

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Reviews

Frame Your Mind to Mirth and Merriment

STRATFORD, ON—I’ve never seen a Taming of the Shrew that is quite so, well, shrewish.  Deborah Hay, playing Katherina, rages around the stage, her hair mushrooming in all sorts of directions, her shrieking voice piercing clear through the Festival Theatre.  It is a shocking, audacious performance, as this comedy has troubled critics, audiences, and actors for some […]

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Reviews

A Very Merry War

Last year, Arin Arbus directed a wonderful Taming of the Shrew for TFANA and this season she returns with her star Maggie Siff for Much Ado About Nothing, an appropriate, complicated companion piece.  But where Shrew succeeded because it treated the text with the appropriate amount of irony, Much Ado falters because it fails to […]

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Reviews

I Am Not That I Play

It seems appropriate to begin Women of Will, a personal exploration of gender, sex, and power in Shakespeare, with an excerpt from The Taming of the Shrew.  But despite a lifetime of working with the Bard, Tina Packer, the show’s creator and star, gets the play thoroughly wrong.  She jokes that as a “card-carrying feminist,” […]

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Reviews

A Laugh Riot at the Pearl

It is said that Pierre Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro foreshadowed the French Revolution—though Figaro (Sean McNall) is based on Brighella, a stock Commedia character, a servant who often outwits his master, Beaumarchais’ text is far more political and is packed with polemical monologues against social inequity.  “How came you to be rich and mighty, […]

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Reviews

A “Post-Feminist” Shrew

When we walk into the theater, there is man playing saloon music on a piano.  A woman passes out bags of peanuts, and Christopher Sly (Matthew Cowles), an old, drunken bum who has been tricked into thinking he is an aristocrat, loudly comments on the action of the play, so much so that the actors […]

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