Monday, March 15, 2010

What $9 In New York Gets You

* A one-day Metrocard "Fun Pass"

* A ride on the Coney Island Cyclone

* And, at the Strand, a hardcover copy of a 1972 of Acting Shakespeare, by John Gielgud.

What $9 does not get you, apparently, is anything close to a decent performance of Taming of the Shrew. This became abundantly clear after we forked over the change sat through nearly 3 hours of the American Theatre of Actors performance of the play.

Where to begin on this thing? With Gregory O'Connor's Grumio, who for some reason thought it wise to pirouette and fly across stage every time his master Petruchio bid him hence? With Michael Matucci's absurd too-cool-for-school Petruchio, which made him sound like he belonged unironically at this high school reunion. No line of Shakespeare could go unadorned in this production, but had to be met with an arched eyebrow, upturned palms or something that stage whispered, "Boy, these guys sure are c-c-c-razy!!!"

The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare's funniest plays. Only rarely did a chuckle ever escape the lips of the audience on Sunday, a damning indictment of a production of this play as possible.

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