Friday, July 17, 2009

Shakespeare and the Glory of White Trash

Saw a version of The Taming of the Shrew last night by the Seattle Shakespeare Company. We've seen several of their productions and always enjoy them. They pick non-traditional settings as a backdrop for the plays, a modern, Yugoslavia style war zone for Romeo and Juliet, a 50's Chicagoland gangster supper club for A Midsummer Night's Dream, and this time they really hit a home run by setting Shrew in a trashy southern trailer park. Shakespearian dialogue delivered in hillbilly drawl is hilarious. The whole thing was brought together by the juxtaposition of the run down trailer park and the talk of fancy estates and large dowries. You see, true white trash have a delusional sense of self importance and that was played to the hilt. The part where Petruchio finally brings a meal to Katherine has the actors scrambling over a box of KFC chicken, considered by many of the trailer park set to be 'fine dining.' And when Petruchio delivers the line, "Come on, kiss me Kate!" while wearing a dirty white T-shirt, raggy jeans, a John Deere ball cap, and a cheap beer in his hand it takes on a whole new dimension. It was masterfully done and if you're in Seattle you should find a way to see them.

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