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Finding Modern Femininity in Shakespeare - Caitlin West on her TAMING OF THE SHREW


Shakespeare speaks to the contemporary challenges women face, says The Taming of the Shrew director Caitlin West.

West is bringing a viciously polemical new production of Shakespeare's popular yet problematic work to Sydney next week as a part of Montague Basement's Shakespearean double bill.

"I've wanted to put on this play for a while," West notes, "mostly because I find it such a challenging script that has so many problematic elements, and because of this has the potential to say some really important things about contemporary relationships - and not just romantic ones."

"For me, the family bond between Katherine, Bianca and Baptista, and the effect that it has on the stories of the two women, is one of the most interesting elements of the play," West explains. "There's such an incredible and complex mix of comedy, love and pain in this text, which I want to bring out as much as possible."

For West, the play still speaks pointedly to the restricted ideas of femininity and acceptable identity offered to women.

"In a culture where women are still taught to constantly compete with and compare themselves against each other, I think it's important to think about the potential effects of setting up unhealthy dichotomies around femininity, and expecting women to conform to them," West Says.

"This production is one which thinks a lot about women, their relationships with each other, and their fight for strength in situations where that strength is being undermined. And I think that's always something worth thinking about."

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