The Shrew

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An adaptation of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew by Charles Marowitz. The acclaimed 1975 production was performed at The Studio in the Sydney Opera House. Refashioned as a gothic tale, the adaptation removed all the comedy, and instead concentrated on examining the themes of sadism and brain washing. Petruchio was played as a savage and vicious misogynist, who rapes and beats Katherina (Elaine Hudson), ultimately driving her mad. At the end of the play, as Katherina delivers her speech, she does so as if she has learned it, without any emotion or inflection. In this version, the happy ending of Shakespeare's play thus takes on a disturbing irony. Due to the extreme nature of the performance, the play divided critics, but those who did enjoy it celebrated it as a genuinely original and relevant treatment of a difficult Shakespeare text.