Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Play a Day: The Return of the Shrew

John Poole
For Tuesday I read The Return of the Shrew by John Poole, and available at New Play Exchange.

In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, this sequel to his The Taming of the Shrew! And don't tell me yesterday was the anniversary of the Bard's birth, they just like to say that because he was christened on April 26, and he died fifty-four years later on April 23, which lends a nice symmetry but isn't a thing that ever actually happens, dying on your birthday (unless you're Cassius, yes, okay) but it could have been yesterday, it could be tomorrow, let's just say it's today.

So! In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, this sequel to his The Taming of the Shrew!

Wait, first, I want to remind everyone I wrote a one-hour prequel to Much Ado About Nothing which is currently available at YouthPLAYS, Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick), which Time Out New York said has, "beautiful turns of language and a touch of weirdness." A perfect one-hour play for your university, high school, or community theater.

However, though Much Ado is largely prose and Double Heart entirely in verse, Taming of the Shrew is largely verse and Return of the Shrew is largely prose! It is not matter because Poole manages to be faithful to the original and explode its conventions at the same time, and this is welcome news to anyone who finds the original a little hard to take.

Poole has crafted a light and frisky vaudeville, exploring the unseen aftereffects of Katherina's notorious closing speech Utilizing slapstick, groan-worthy puns and absurdly authentic plot devices, he conveys a much more realistic and satisfying approach to love and relationships than is found in Shakespeare's original. A swift and silly sequel -- Huzzah!

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