Taming of the Shrew
Folkwang Shakespeare Festival: 11-23 April
An innovating telling by DUT Drama and Production Studies’ students under the direction of Prof. Deborah Arlene Lütge of one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies: The Taming of the Shrew, will be heading off for Germany in mid-April as part of an innovative global exchange / research programme to honour the work of Shakespeare.
DUT’s The Taming of the Shrew will be presented at the 2018 Folkwang Shakespeare Festival from 11-23 April. The Festival happens every two years and this is the ninth time the festival is being held.
“Our journey to Folkwang Shakespeare Festival in 2016 signalled the beginning of a deep and poignantly touching transition for our Department of Drama and Production Studies. Ours was the first production from Africa to take part in this innovative international Shakespeare project. This second sojourn has been equally transformative,” explains Lutge.
The DUT version will travel to Essen-Werden in Germany. DUT joins Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki, Finnland; Drama Academy Ramallah, Palestine; Folkwang University of the Arts, Germany. They will perform at the Folkwang Universität der Künste to which participants must be invited in order to produce collaborative art. The participants all perform exactly the same Shakespeare – this year The Taming of the Shrew – uniquely interpreted by individual global directors then merged and deconstructed to produce the same Shakespeare with all directors and international casts collaborating.
“In regards to practice-based research sharing unique interpretations and further exploring the cultural and global collaborative exchange, this festival proves an invaluable artistic and reflective process” said Lutge.
“The production, which is centered on gender equality, must speak of who we are as a nation. We decided in this production to invoke our ancestors to journey with us on this prestigious journey. All the actors in blankets as the play opens represent male and female initiates who are coming-of-age. Once again we have sought to blend multiple South African influences. In transference, our African Shakespeare’s inevitably inscribes a negotiation of textual translation; a concept that evidences our strong Nguni roots through language, regalia, and cattle skins; and an attempt to carry an authentic African voice further globally through our re-interpretations of seminal classics. A possible analogy for a rainbow nation,” she adds.
The play is simply put the battle of the sexes. The subject matter has brought to the fore in our discussion many dilemmas pertaining to the shifts in gender dynamics and how this impacts cultural traditions. The question of whether the play is misogynistic or not has become the subject of considerable controversy, particularly among modern scholars, audiences, and readers – and will no doubt inform and be considered in the different interpretations during the festival .
The Taming of the Shrew has been adapted numerous times for stage, screen, opera, ballet, and musical theatre; perhaps the most famous adaptations being Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate and the 1967 film of the play, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The 1999 high school comedy film 10 Things I Hate About You is also loosely based on the play.
“Each visit we become more conscious of the large debt our journey owes to our German partners who facilitate mounting the play. Our trip to the Folkwang Shakespeare Festival 2018 was facilitated by funding from DAAD (Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienster). DAAD additionally funded insurance, as well as the study seminar Prof Hanns Dietrich Schmidt will give in Germany with funds from Federal Foreign Office resources,” explained Lutge.
The Taming of The Shrew had Durban performances at the Courtyard Theatre last week.
For more information contact the Departmental Secretary, Lebohang Sibisi on (031) 3732194 / lebohangs@dut.ac.za.