Finding the Will presents the 70-minute long Naming the View, a piece of digital theatre by Richard Curnow, covering ideas of feminism and equality.
A story of rekindled friendship and healing inspired by the problematic themes of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, this play follows Kate and an acquaintance (Horton, or Hortensio) from her past on Cleeve Hill.
Performed by co-directors Jules Hobbs and Richard Curnow, this is a talky if static two-hander which has much to say about the misogynistic closure of Shrew. Pete (or Petruchio) does not escape with forgiveness for his treatment of the wilful Kate, and their scenes are dark.
Modern eyes see Shrew in a very different light than in the times it wa written. Domestic abuse, coercive control, gaslighting, and more can all be assumed and make Kate’s speech of supplication to her husband difficult to accept as is.
In Naming the View, Curnow’s writing explores these themes but doesn’t quite connect with them in the staging. It needs something more to expand and ground it, although the premise is interesting and the ideas are challenging.
I appreciate what this play is trying to say, and it certainly makes me think again about Shrew and what it has to say about interpersonal and intimate relationships after three decades of marriage.
The performances are very naturalistic and chatty, without any of the fire represented by Kate and Petruchio in the original. 70 minutes may be a little long, but this is something a bit different and adds a new slant to interpretations of the Bard.
You can watch Naming the View in the Alabama International Fringe Festival on Thornhill Theatre Space’s YouTube channel.