How would you want your audience to respond to the character of Katherina at the beginning of the play? Explain how you would perform the role in Act 1 scene 1. Use the ideas from the lesson and also analysis of your last essay. I would use a thrust stage (3 sides), as that is what would have been used in Shakespeare’s time. Also it will make the audience more included in the action, and create a more intimate environment. The audience she should see Katherina, in this scene, as moody, angry, bitter and mouthy. In this scene it should seem as though she is seeking an argument with everyone on stage.
Also I feel in this scene she is trying to put across that she won’t conform to the ideals of the time and become someone’s wife, instead she is trying to assert her independence. From line 46 Katherina should enter first from upstage left going across to downstage right, followed by the rest of the crowd. I would be scowling as I walked, heavily across the stage, possibly huffing at something that may have been said before I entered. Katherina should be stood separate from the group, more towards centre stage, but still to the right.
Throughout Baptista’s lines I should be watching Bianca, letting her know the irritation I feel. On line 52 I’d roll my eyes and face in the opposite direction to the group and cross my arms. From Gremio’s lines (lines 55 and 56) I’d drop my jaw as is astonished that he could say such a thing. At line 57 I’d turn to face and walk up to Baptista and calmly say the lines. Although in the second line I would start to increase the emphasis on the words and increasingly become more angry, putting the most emphasis on the words ‘mates’.
Also as I say that word I would gesture towards Gremio and Hortensio. I would say lines 61-65 as if I have tired of the conversation, walking slowly towards Gremio and Hortensio, but on lines 64 and 65 I would become progressively more irate as I stand in front of Hortensio and prod him in the shoulder. As Lucentio and Tranio are talking Katherina should walk around the stage as if walking through a market place. She should at some point walk past both of them (past downstage left) and just be arriving back to downstage right as Baptista is finishing his lines (lines 74-77).
On line 78 I’d point to my eye whilst staring at Bianca showing that I am trying to prove a point, and as I say ‘she’ I’d point to her. At line 80 I’d look shocked, in disbelief that Bianca is trying to tell me what to do. On the next line I’d roll my eyes again and act impatient up to line 87 where I’d start to listen to the conversation and become offended. When Gremio says ‘fiend of hell… ‘ I would raise my eyebrows with an amazed expression, and then as Baptista says ‘I am resolved’ I would stand beside him with a look of contentment.
On lines 92/93 I would roll my eyes and then just listen to what Baptista is saying until line 99. A Baptista is saying his last line I would slowly start to get angry with him. At the beginning of my speech I would raise my voice, but not fully, and throughout the lines I would get louder and more angry towards the end when I would storm off, following Baptista. Also on lines 103 and most of 104 I would direct these towards Gremio and Hortensio as they are the last people left in the group I entered with.