Der Widerspenstigen Zähmung / The Taming of the Shrew
Thrown out by the inn-keeper, Christopher Sly only wanted to sleep off the booze, but his nap is turned into a feverish nightmare. On waking, he is made to believe that he is a nobleman caught up in the confused notion that he is a poor wretch. And then a traveling troupe of actors knocks on his door to present the supposed lord with their latest comedy: the story of a shrew and her taming, of marriage and love. But in Padua, where the story is set, a very peculiar set of rules seems to govern the market-place. Who is proposing to whom? And who will negotiate the dowry? Men and women play very different roles than Sly expected. Because otherwise, the story would go like this: Baptista Minola has two beautiful daughters and a very specific plan as to how they should be taken off his hands. The lovely younger daughter appears to be a nubile jewel among women, because there is no shortage of suitors for gentle Bianca. The older daughter, Katharina, however, has no intention to be married off. She chooses to attack. Because of her wit, her verbal and physical frontal charges, Kate is feared throughout Padua.
Minola decides that Bianca will not be allowed to get married until a husband has been found for Katharina. In order to woo Bianca, the menfolk develop a complex kind of role play. As far as Katharina goes, they are banking on a man who has just arrived from Verona: Petrucchio. He may never have seen the shrewish Kate, but tales of her unbridled temper and her dowry enthrall him so that he decides to marry her.
And so, for the first time, Kate meets a man who is her match. These two partners are equal in their challenging humour, their enjoyment of transgression, but most of all in their resistance against the rest of the world – which ultimately renders their love unconditional and transforming.
Shakespeare’s early comedy describes love as a sadistic game of the sexes, as a currency connected to capitalist market mechanisms, but also as a frantic yearning for an unconditional bond beyond all social conventions, one that is never resolved. Director Moritz Sostmann, who made his successful Leipzig debut with “Sechs Personen suchen einen Autor” in the 2017/2018 season, will stage this dream under altered circumstances of gender power relations.