by Jim Murchison
It is a tightrope to present something provocative and interesting that sometimes poses unpopular questions and also have a viewpoint that is responsible. I expressed an opinion in my review of Carousel that it portrayed battery of women in a whitewashed light. I understand that there are some that believe The Taming of The Shrew does something very similar with mental abuse, so why was I involved in that? It is a valid question.
The fact that Shrew's entire production team was made up of women and the director has been an activist for women’s rights helps. I felt that the play is tongue in cheek and very broad comedy. The best comedy pushes boundaries and makes fun of the social structure of its time. I didn’t feel it seriously advocated or endorsed training or brainwashing women any more than The Imaginary Invalid promotes hypochondria. So that was my justification. There are some people that believe The Taming of The Shrew and other Shakespearean plays should not be produced for the same reasons I feel Carousel was a bad choice for the Orpheus season.
Gaëtan Charlebois asks similar questions about the role of critics in this week’s op ed. There is a wavering line and we have to get to the edge of it. We have to challenge and probe, but we have to do our level best not to go over that line and maintain respect for the effort put into creating something that will move or inform the soul and the mind. Ultimately some will think we cross that line, and they may be right. It is far and away better than never asking the questions and burying your ideas in preconceived notions founded on historical bias, sense of entitlement or a paranoid fear of things you don’t understand.