I kept reading the Howard County Times' review of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's production of "Taming of the Shrew" waiting for the punch line. Just like the production, which I saw with my family on June 23, I waited patiently through all the overacting and slapstick for the moment when they would tell us how silly Shakespeare's morality play about the inferiority of women was. It never happened.
Given Chesapeake's modern and funny interpretations of Shakespeare, I looked forward to bringing my daughters to this play. Imagine my disappointment and embarrassment with this production, especially Kate's final monologue, delivered in all seriousness, about the natural superiority of men and proper submissiveness of women.
Over the years, I've seen this play successfully presented with irony, sarcasm and even absurdity, qualities the Chesapeake Company does well. None of that here. As a specific example, I have never in my life seen a production in which Kate pretends, seriously and earnestly, on orders from her new husband, that an old man is a little girl. How can that not be played as silly?
There are scores of proven ways to interpret this hilarious but unimaginatively conservative morality play in an enlightened way, but Chesapeake showed little creativity. I will have to think hard about bringing my children to future productions.