The Taming of the Shrew

Yesterday I saw the Boston-area Actors’ Shakespeare Project‘s production of The Taming of the Shrew.  It was the first production of theirs that I’d seen; I’d heard great things about them and it didn’t disappoint.

But what are we to make of a play that so unabashedly supports male dominance of marriage?  I saw the play on Sunday afternoon, and that performance had a brief question-and-answer session with the cast.  I asked them how they dealt with the issue, ending up by saying (in jest, mostly), “How do you look at yourself in the mirror each morning?”  Clearly, it was something that they all struggled with, and how could they not?  One actor said that while it is true that the play is patriarchal, it’s not true that the play is misogynist, that they’re not the same thing.  True enough.  The woman who played Katharina, said, if I’m recalling correctly, that she tried to look at the play mainly as a love story and she was glad that while she was playing the character she didn’t have to think about the broader implications.  She did a fantastic job, so I’m glad she didn’t have to look at them while she was at it either.  I don’t mean to be getting down on the cast here in any way, incidentally: they did a great job with a play that can’t be anything but deeply troublesome these last forty years or so.

In any case, there’s no need to needle the cast: how can I look at myself in the mirror after acknowledging that at the end of the play, Katharina’s apparently total subjugation to Petruchio felt to me to be not merely acceptable, but happy and even necessary?  After such feelings, what forgiveness? Continue reading “The Taming of the Shrew”

Pandora is changing my life

OK, I have a bunch of music.  Mostly it comes from CDs that I own (really!).  At one point I ripped it all to mp3 files, set up a server, and had two Squeezeboxes that I could listen to anything in my collection any time I wanted to.  I made some play lists that played over and over in my office waiting room.  When I had a party, I would (sometimes) make a big play list and play it as background music.  Other than that I hardly use it.

About a week ago, I downloaded Pandora for my Android phone.  Pandora bills itself as “internet radio,” but it’s radio only in the sense that it plays a stream of songs that you are not choosing one-by-one, the way you do when you make a playlist.  You create a “stiation” by starting with an artist or a song you like, and it goes from there, finding something similar.  Every time it plays something, you have the option of saying you like it, or don’t like it, or skipping it without rating it, or just listening without rating it.  Based on the songs you do rate, it refines its search.  There are some variations but that’s the basic idea.

So I made stations starting with Theonious Monk, Crosby Still Nash & Young’s “Carry On” (don’t ask me why), romantic period string quartets, oh yeah, and Louis Armstrong.  I am hooked.  I’m listening to the Monk channel right now and a lot of the rest of the time.  I don’t listen to it while I’m working because I don’t think my patients would like that, and I don’t listen to it at dinner, but lots of the rest of the time. Continue reading “Pandora is changing my life”