No fear of Shakespeare
In this course you’ll be listening to, discussing and repeating The Taming of the Shrew, the complete play, scene by scene. We’ll be dividing the characters and I’ll encourage a theatrical reading of a MODERN ENGLISH transcription of the original play. Anybody with at least a B2 intermediate level can participate. The accent in this course lies on listening, reading and speaking, on getting a deep understanding of the play. Reading Shakespeare is fun.
This is the first of three Shakespeare plays we’re presenting, all three set in the Veneto. The other two are Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Merchant of Venice. Of these three The Taming of the Shrew is the least understood. Actually, often misunderstood. People have prejudices simply because of the words “taming” and “shrew”, but in reality the play is about love and living together, as the play goes well beyond the format of a regular comedy to become real and touchable for all. It is clearly structured following the commedia dell’arte tradition, and we’ll discover similarities as we go along. The dialogues are really quite easily understood in this Sparknotes edition and we’ll experiment with pronunciation and interpretation of the lines, and you’ll find yourself acting the various parts!
In this play six characters appear in disguise (dressing up as someone else). Shakespeare uses disguise to create comical situations as these characters fool others into believing they are someone else. But Shakespeare goes further: Is Petrucchio only out to get money? Is Lucentio studying at university just to satisfy his father? Are Hortensio and Gremio serious contenders to become Bianca’s husband? Is Katherine a horrible and non-obeying shrew? We’ll find out, and much more.
In a regular classroom interaction, I’ll guide you through a first reading of the text and we’ll discuss the meaning of most of the puns (word jokes). Then I’ll split up the group in couples and threesomes who work simultaneously, and everybody will have ample time to read and practice individually. There are five acts in total and that means two lessons per act. For those who miss a class don’t worry; every lesson we’ll do a quick recap of the previous scenes in order to refresh our memory. For those who have time in between lessons, there is the optional reading exercise of the text of the next lesson, it will give you more confidence and allow easier understanding of the action. Finally, we will also watch some scenes of famous productions of the play.
Maximum class size is ten students.