© Donald Cooper / Photostage
Phyllida Lloyd’s production of The Taming of the Shrew used only female actors. It took the early modern practice of casting only men and turned it on its head, creating new dynamics in this play with such contentious views of women.
These photographs show Kathryn Hunter as Katherina and Janet McTeer as Petruchio, performing at Shakespeare’s Globe in London in 2003.
I feared a dour, stridently feminist staging, heavily underlining the fact that all men are bastards. I should have known better. Phyllida Lloyd is a director with an infectious sense of fun, and the mere fact that all the men here are played by women highlights the absurdities of the male of the species.
But … the staging leaves no doubt that the Shrew is also a fine romance. McTeer is a delightfully dashing, disconcertingly sexy Petruchio, while Hunter beautifully captures Kate's misery as a neglected spinster daughter … Nothing else on stage can compete with the gender-bending sexual chemistry between these superbly matched lovers.
In 2016, Lloyd’s all-female production was revived for the ‘Free Shakespeare in the Park’ festival at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, New York City.