“Children should be seen and not heard.” It’s hard– even those who are more enlightened sometimes have trouble listening to a kid who seems to know more than adults do. While not chronologically children, Katerina and Bianca are treated as such because of their position in their family as unmarried offspring and even moreso because they are unmarried women.
Most likely, from the time she could form thoughts and had questions, Kate wanted someone to hear her, to respect her intelligence, or even to humor her curiosity but she was merely waved away, so the logical thing for a youth to do would be to speak louder– perhaps they didn’t hear her or if they did, maybe if she put power behind her words someone would actually listen to her and take her seriously– but they didn’t.
Katerina became “Kate the Curst.” Pained and ignored, why not shout to the sky? If only God hears or a flock of passing birds listened, maybe she wouldn’t be invisible, maybe someone would care and take a moment to listen, really listen.
Petruchio has one companion that is beyond honest, his servant, Grumio. Other than advice from his servant, he grew up in a world of men who often spoke much and said little, and with submissive women who were mere property and less stimulating than a tree in a courtyard. So, the owning of a female was more a matter of acquiring more wealth and acquiring a male heir; these were reasonable expectations from everything he had seen and experienced in his life. A woman would profit him in the aforementioned ways and then he could set her in a corner to do whatever women do, and go back to his carefree life of carousing with friends, many who are idiots, but still amusing diversions from the mundane existence as lord of a manor.
He hears of a woman who doesn’t seem any different than any woman he’s ever heard or encountered, so he could just move her to the far side of the house or even better, give her her own cottage where she could do her woman things until he needed her.
Then he is moved. With the exception of Grumio, he has not been challenged and continuously has to listen to the babbling of university scholars and landowners with tedious lives. To have a person, albeit a woman, meeting him jab for jab as he tries to treat her as every other moronic person he’s met, provides some annoyance, but also some pleasure, since his friends prattle on about war and love, business and property; could this woman be relief from his weary existence?
Could he have a different life– unlike his father’s and most of his friends? Who is this woman? What would people think of him if he actually treated her as an equal? A friend?
Kate is not sure if this man is a liar, a lunatic, or a scoundrel, but he does listen; even if his responses are infantile, and sometimes acts exactly like every man or even powerful woman, such as a rich widow, she knows he hears her. Is he sincere or simply playing games to win her? At least he is not one of the salivating men who court her sister. He’s intriguing and would he give her a different life than this one of silent screams?
Is there life beyond stupid games and façades? Can these two people be genuine in a world where people only see and hear what they want to see and hear?
You will get a glimpse in January 2014 at The Chain Theatre in Long Island City.