The Folio introduces the play with the heading ‘Actus primus. Scaena Prima’ (i.e., Act I, Scene I), but editors since Rowe have described Sly’s story as an ‘Induction’, a prelude to the main action, or framing device. Spectators obviously have no access to this sort of editorial guidance in the theatre, and so are led to assume, wrongly as it turns out, that Sly and the Hostess will remain at the heart of the plot. Directors sometimes play with this expectation by cross-casting the actors playing the Hostess and Sly as Katherina and Petruchio, and moving straight from Sly falling asleep on the ground at l. 13 to the action in Padua at I.i (see Chapter 4, pp. 138–9). The effect of this choice is to present the taming story not as a play within the play, but as Sly’s dream or fantasy.
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Margaret Jane Kidnie
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