Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Kiss Me Kate

Ah, the squabbling lovers. I never understood the appeal.  But the musical redeems itself otherwise. 

Kiss Me Kate is about a staging of "Taming of the Shrew" and the actors that play them. Fred and Lilli, who embody the roles of Petruchio and Katherine, also happen to be ex-spouses. They yell, they scream, they holler, they kiss. Typical. 
My basis for a good musical is if the songs are sing-able. Since Cole Porter was the composer, most of the tunes are. One of my favorite scenes is where two leg-breakers for the mob serenade Fred on how to woo a woman. 
Poor Kate. Shakespeare wasn't being that loose with the realities of life back then when a loud, stubborn woman was married off to the next indiscriminate fortune hunter. 

I was so curious as to what causes Katherine's capitulation that I actually checked out Cliff's Notes. Its theory is that Kate begins as a spoiled bully, who would rather die than give in. But her initially miserable marriage makes her realize that that childish tactic won't work anymore; she has to take craftier action. 

She finds out how Petruchio thinks and instead of fighting him, she plays along. It is Cliff's opinion that her final speech was actually just for public's sake; she knows now that Petruchio's success is her success, that they are stuck together so might as well make the best of it. While she may proclaim servitude, that is not her intention. She has grown up, and she has to make peace instead of railing against the cards she is dealt. 
This is a major segue, but I couldn't resist.  

1 comment:

Daniel Saunders said...

I'm not a great fan of musicals, but I saw this years ago. Brush Up Your Shakespeare was my favourite bit too, although I'd question whether it really does help wow the women...