The Taming of the Shrew Successfully Performed by Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS), Russia

On the evening of October 19th, The Taming of the Shrew by Russian Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS), Russia was performed in Proscenium Stage Theatre in Chang Ping campus of The Central Academy of Drama. The theatre is based on Shakespeare's work, telling the story of Petruchio marrying the shrew Katharina from a rich family.

In the beginning of the performance, Katharina bullied her sister Bianca and put her head into a guitar. Katharina made an astonishing appearance waving a belt with bells to drive the others away, emphasizing her personality of the shrew with the sound. The audience could easily feel the modernization of this play in the plot, particularly when Petruchio rushed out from the audience, wearing the costume of Spider-Man. And the mask of Spider-Man was also used to show the tame of Katharina by Petruchio. And Grumio wore the mask of flame to express a furnace, waving his arm as the fire inside. Besides, the Chinese elements added by director also realized unexpected comic effects. For example, Petruchio played cucurbit flute, let Katharina eat with sticks and used Jackie Chen to help Hortensio rebuild his self-confidence.


The text of The Taming of the Shrew is based on an ancient Scottish ballad, which inherited the historical background of male chauvinism and guard the male's power. Shakespeare largely recomposed the story and switched extreme scenes into comic scenes. In this version, the director took the love story of Petruchio and Katharina as the most important thing in the play. So they ignored the suitors and servants. The director also changed the line of Bianca and Hortensio.


The director mentioned in the post-show talk that nowadays the question of the roles distribution in family were very actual. Everyone should focus on love and understanding to the others regardless of the gender. The judgment to a person should be based on his or her behavior rather than the sex. At the same time, this performance left us many questions: Should a woman absolutely trust her husband or should she be able to take care of herself? Who is the leader in family? Can spouses change their convictions for love?


In the morning of October 19th, the workshop was held in Thrust Stage Theatre in Chang Ping campus of The Central Academy of Drama, by Professor Mikhail Chumachenko. The workshop was mainly about the function of observation and feeling in the Stanislavsky System.

As the workshop started early in the morning, the conductor did a series of Morning Exercise first to help the audience get prepared and started a game of counting numbers to discuss the importance of rhythm. Prof. Mikhail pointed out that observation was the first step in theatre acting.


In order to better understand the meaning of observation, Prof. Mikhail also did meditation exercise with the students to recall the scenes and feelings in the memory via visual sense, auditory sense, smell and gustation. The conductor mentioned that the first step for directors in the rehearsal was to express his own understanding of the play. As the feeling varies among different people, so it is necessary for the director to help the others to feel the play with their own sense.

Then Prof. Mikhail started the second exercise. He randomly chose three students and made them turn their back to others. And he let one of the rest choose one of the three and try to make him look back to others. Although all participants managed to get the chosen one turned back, Mikhail argued that this sensory ability would largely decrease in performance. So the actors needs to be more infectious to lead audience into the play.


In the end of the workshop, Prof. Mikhail did the observation training with the students and strengthened its effect in acting system. He claimed that in acting teaching we should obtain general feeling, which is related to intuition.

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