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Lived Mary Arden, the mother of Shakespeare, in a house still standing, a venerable, weather-beaten, gabled structure, in the parish of Aston Cant. low, about four miles from Stratford.
The version of “ The Taming of the Shrew," which for many years has been used on the stage, in one form or another, is the version, in three acts, that was made by Garrick, produced at Drury Lane, and published in 1756, under the name of “Katherine and Petruchio." That version omits several scenes, transposes other parts of the original, and converts the comedy into an efficient farce. An alteration of Garrick's piece, made and long used by Edwin Booth, who still frequently acts Petruchio, was published in 1878, with a Preface and Notes by the writer of this sketch. Booth's version is in two acts, and it has been adopted by several other actors, of late years. Neither the Garrick nor the Booth book of this play includes “The Induction "or the under-plot relative to the love of Horten. sio and Bianca. It seems strange that such wealth of dramatic substance and opportunity should have been neglected. But so it is : and from the beginning of American stage history until the time of Mr. Daly's present revival of it, the comedy of “ The Taming of the Shrew" has never been presented here as Shakespeare wrote it. That exquisite actress, Maric Seebach, when she visited America, in 1870, produced it here, in the Ger. inan language, under the name of “ Dic Widerspenstige,” in a four-act version, a little cut and changed; but this did not includc the Induction.
On the English stage this conicdy has been the parent of several popu. lar plays. · Aside from its rattling fun the subject itself seems to possess a particular interest.for the average Briton-one of whose chief articles of faith is the subordination of woman to man. Long ago it became a settled principle of the common law of England that a man may beat his wise with a stick not thicker than his thumb, which, as the English thumb goes, would be a stick of considerable thickness. The“ Ducking Stool”-a chair affixed to the end of a beam which rested on a pivot, and so arranged that the culprit, bound into it, could be repeatedly soused in a pond or riverwas used in that country, to punish a scolding woman, as late as 1809. John Taylor, the water-poet, counted sixty whipping-posts within one mile of London, prior to 1630, and it was not till 1791 that the whipping of les male vagrants was forbidden by statute. The “ Brank," a peculiar and cruel kind of gag, formerly in common use, has been cmployed to punish a certain sort of women within the memory of persons still alive. Thack eray's well-known caustic ballad of " Damages Two Hundred Pounds affords an instructive glimpse of the vicw that is taken now, by British law of British masculine severity toward women. It is not meant that the gen tlemen of England are tyrannicaland cruel in their treatment of the women far from it; but that the predominance of John Bull, in any question be treen himself and Mrs. Bull, is a cardinal doctrine of the English social constitution, and that plays illustrative of the application of discipline
o rebellious women have continually found favor with the English auHience,
“Sawney the Scot," by John Lacy, acted at Drury Lane and published n 1698, is an alteration of “ The Taming of the Shrew," and is not so good
play ; yet it had success. Another play derived from this original is •The Cobler of Preston,” by Charles Johnson, a two-act farce, acted at Djury Lane and published in 1716. A piece, by Christopher Bullock, havng the same title, was acted at the same time at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre. Both thcsc seem to have been well received. John Fletcher's
Rule a Wise and have a Wife" (1640) is perhaps the most notable type of the popular plays of this class. In this piece Leon pretends meekness ind docility, in order to win Alargarita, and presently becomes imperative or the control of her. Garrick used to personate Leon, in an alteration of the comedy attributed to his own hand. It is worthy of note that letcher, whose views of women are always somewhat stern and severe [hc yas the son of that Fletcher, Dean of Peterborough, who embittered the ast moments of Mary Stuart Queen of Scots, by his importunate religious xhortations to her upon the scaffold at Fotheringay Castle), nevertheless srote a sequel to “The Taining of the Shrew," in which Petruchio reappears, Katherine being dead, with a new wise, by whom he is henpecked ind subdued. This is entitled “The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tamed," and it was printed in 1647. John Tobin's comedy of "The Honeymoon " (1805), based on ideas derived from Shakespeare, Fletcher, and Shirley, portrays a husband's conquest of his wife's affections by per. sonal charm, irradiating manliness and firmness of character; and this picce is deservedly held in high esteem. Petruchio's method is to meet turbulence with still greater turbulence, remaining, however, entirely goodnatured throughout the stormiest paroxysms of violence, till at last his boisterous, kindly, rough, sinewy vigor and clamorous tumult overwhelm Katherine and disgust her with the exaggerated image of her own faults.
The scene of the Induction is Warwickshire ; that of the main action of the comedy at Padua, and at the country-house of Petruchio-who comes to Padua from Verona. The period indicated is the sixteenth century, about the year 1535. The time supposed to be occupied by the action is four days. The correct spelling of the hero's name is Petrucio; the h'was probably introduced in order to suggest the correct pronunciation. The name of Shakespeare's shrew is Katharina Mlinola. The Induction presents the only opportunity that Shakespeare's works afford for showing English costume of his own time. The Italian dresses required for the picce are of styles such as were contemporaneous with the poet. An actor named Sincklo, who is mentioned in the quarto edition of " Henry IV.," Part Second, and also in "Henry VI.," Part Third, is supposed to have acted in "The Taming of the Shrew," as well as in those two histories for the inconclusive reason that a reference to him occurs in the old play:
the line.“ I think 'twas Soto that your honor means was originally given to Sincklo. It has long been customary, in acting this piece, to present Curtis, a serving-man in the original, as an old woman; and to allot two or three words of speech to the servants who are nimed by Grumio, in his deprecatory specch to his master, in the arrival scene. It is neither Recessary, desirable, nor usual to speak upon the stage every line of a Shakespearean play : but this book will serve to show that in Mr. Daly's present revival of The Taming of the Shrew" a careful and thoughtful effort is made to do absolute justice to the original piece.
WILLIAM WINTER. 8
But few of Shakspere's comedies have attained an. hundredth consecuve representation. Such pieces as have done so were rather helped to ldt end by an unusual spectacular display in massing throngs and scenic bleaux, than merely through the inherent life and strength of the play itIf and the completeness of its acted parts. They were produced, in short, for a run;" and, as in such instances as “ The Tempest,"
"Oo Much Ado bout Nothing," and the facrie“ Midsummer Night's Dream,” the proper ıtlay has frequently produced the desired result. But it has seldom hapined that a comedy pure and simple, produced as such, and decorated I only those accessories of scenery and costume which a conscientious anager would give to any worthy new or standard play, has reached so sily and so surely its hundredth successive representation as “The aming of the Shrew" upon the present occasion.
I am inclined to attribute this remarkable success to the contemporaous spirit of the play.' It seems to have been written (as with a predicle pen) for our own time. In its varied and contrastive plots and characrs, and its short, crisp dialogue, and in the absence of long philosophical onologues or soliloquies, it might have been constructed by a Shakspere
this century who had studied the methods and requirements of the odern comedy stage. The audiences which have witnessed the reprentation seemed wrapt in interest throughout each performance; and no odern piece of the past quarter of a century has so thoroughly captured e fancy of the public as this restored version of “ The Shrew." People we come again and again to enjoy it, and in many instances a dozen sits have been made by the same parties.
As far as I have been able to ascertain, “ The Taming of the Shrew' d never until now been acted in this country in its entirety, or with its ry quaint“ Induction.”
In the year 1754, when Garrick was adapting, refitting, and rearrang3 many of Shakspcre's works to suit the demands of his audiences or e needs of the stage of his own time, he reduced “The Taning of the rew ” from its original form to the proportions of a three-act farce. i also renamed the comedy " Katherine and Petruchio." The date the original production of this emasculated play was March 18, 1757,
and in that shape the piece has been kept alive ever since by tragic stars who desired to show their versatility-or it has been played at the farce end of benefit entertainments, and when “double bills" were necessary to attract an otherwise reluctant public.
Under its original title I can find no mention of the production of this piece on our stage. llr. Ireland, in his very comprehensive “ Records the New York Theatrcs,” notes several productions of “Catharine and Petruchio," but not one of “ The Taming of the Shrew; " and, that we may be certain that it was not the perfect play thus acted, we have the casts of its original production in New York City, April 14, 1768, in which neither Christopher Sly nor any of the other characters of the induction ar given; and again at the John Street Theatre, October 4, 1785, when Hall lam played Petruchio and a Mrs. Allen Catharine, but still no Sly, no Ls centio, no Lord, no Hostess appear in the cast, which is otherwise give quite complete. The next date of the production of " Catharine and P! truchio" is November 29, 1832, when Fanny Kemble was the “Shrew" and Charles Kemble her tamer. This was at the Old Park Theatre ; and sing then, and as " Catharine and Petruchio," Shakspere's play has been ad
“ ed, hundreds of times probably, but never in its complete form, I believe until this year of grace, 1887, when the company of Daly's Theatre mad effort to give life and body to Shakspcre's long disused characters.
Some writers have expressed regret that Shakspere permitted his chat acters in thc “ Induction" to slip out of sight entirely after the first act the comedy which is acted before them. In the earlier piece Sly is intr duced frequently throughout the play within the play, to utter his ha drunken, half-sleepy, but thoroughly intelligent comments. And finall at the end of the whole work (in the earlier play), the Lord orders to be carried in his sleep back to the ale-house door, where he is d covered by the Tapster, who wakens him, and the dialogue goes on ticen them to finish the play-as the following extract from the edition 1594 will show :
Then enter Two, bearing Slie in his own apparel aguine, and leaves him where
found him, and then goes out, then enters the TAPSTER.
Slie. (Awaking.) Sim, give's more winc. What, all the players gone? not a lord ?
Tag. A lord, with a murrain ? Come, art thou drunk still?
Slie. Who's this? Tapster? Oh, I have had the bravest dream that ever heard'st in all thy life.