The Taming of the Shrew at the Mount.. Photo Zachary da Silva.

A Singer’s Notes 153—Shakespeare and Company: Two Outdoor Performances: The Taming of the Shrew and The Merry Wives of Windsor

In Williams Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the Bard baits us at every moment. We all long for a sweet love-life. Finding this requires, in this play, a whole lot of passionate listening, and in Shakespeare and Company’s outdoor production in the Dell at the Mount, director Kelly Galvin gave it to us.

Kate Henning's The Last Wife by WAM: Nehassaiu deGannes as Kate, John Madden as Henry VIII, David Joseph as Thom.

A Singer’s Notes 140: The Last Wife, by Kate Hennig; directed by Kelly Galvin – WAM Theatre at Shakespeare & Co.’s Bernstein Theater

I have been a fan of Kelly Galvin ever since her wonderful performance as Madame de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons with Shakespeare and Company, years ago. The detail alone in Ms. Galvin’s performance was stunning. Even more impressive now is her direction of Kate Hennig’s The Last Wife, produced by WAM Theatre in Shakespeare and Company’s Bernstein Theatre. The simple set focused our attention—a simple backdrop, a pull-out bed with ample drawers.

A Singer’s Notes 46: Rhymed Verse on the Stage, a Balancing Act; and More Fun at the Clark

Try this for starters. Read a scene in rhymed couplets to someone you know, and ask them if it sounded natural. Not easy, is it? Great rhyme masters, from Alexander Pope to Richard Wilbur, require their readers to use these couplets on stage or page, and this is no small task. It asks from the performer something like singing. The regularity of the rhyme scheme, its dominance, can be treacherous. Peter Hall maintained that a script of Shakespeare’s can be read like music, but iambic pentameter is too strong and unbalanced to accept this kind of strictness all the time. Rhymed (sometimes called heroic) couplets need, indeed require, a balancing act. The listener knows instinctively when the rhymes are over-sung. I am saying there has to be a large and flexible middle to the actor’s method. This middle might be defined as the place that is returned to.

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