The Taming of the Shrew
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Movie or TV Productions
Director Franco Zeffirelli's version is probably one of the most popular film adaptations of the play. Starring the smokin' hot Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, this production plays up the sexual chemistry between Kate and Petruchio. Liz Taylor delivers Kate's final speech in a way that suggests she's being ironic rather than sincere.
Director Kirk Browning's filmed theater production (American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco) in the style of commedia dell'arte, and starring Fredi Olster as Kate and Marc Singer as Petruchio. This is one of our favorites.
A BBC production, directed by Jonathan Miller and starring John Cleese as Petruchio and Sarah Badel as Kate. Students often find this one to be a bit of a snooze but it's a very good production.
Musical adaptation written by Cole Porter for Broadway performance. There are several good productions available on DVD and the web.
Starring the late Heath Ledger and actress Julia Styles. This film adapts Shakespeare's play to a modern day teen setting: Padua High School, where Cameron wants to date Bianca but Bianca's not allowed to go out until her big sis, Katarina, starts dating. Patrick (Heath Ledger) is the man for the job. Love it or hate it, every teenager needs to check this one out.
Smart and funny retelling (a la Bridget Jones's Diary). Kate is a 38-year-old, unmarried virgin and a real shrew. She's also a super successful politician who is urged by her party to marry. You can watch clips of the production on the BBC's website or YouTube.
Petruchio and Kate's first meeting. Compare this version to the other two listed below. What’s the tone? What kinds of assumptions are made about the chemistry between Kate and Petruchio? If you were a director, how would you stage the scene?
The meeting scene of the 1967 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
A high school production of the same scene.
From BBC's "60 Second Shakespeare"
This was a punishment for a "shrewish" woman who was convicted of being a "scold."
Photographs of a muzzled Jessica Alba and others in various Declareyourself.com campaign ads. Compare these images to photos of "branks" and "scolds bridles" used to silence shrewish women.
From a U.K. history website.
E-Text of a popular and disturbing ballad about a man who punishes his unruly wife by beating her and wrapping her in the skin of a dead horse. From Renascence Editions, a collection of English texts printed between 1477 and 1779.
Facsimile of a page from the first folio (1623) edition of Shrew.
Read the play online if you don't have a hard copy of the text. Warning, there aren't any footnotes but this is good in a pinch if you left your copy of the play at school or something.
Great website for historical background. Includes a nifty "Elizabethan dictionary."
Awesome tool for all students to look up words in any of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.