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Shakespeare's Uproarious Battle of the Sexes
Mar 29 - Apr 14, 2019
Hanna Theatre, Playhouse Square
Run Time: 2 hours & 15 minutes (including intermission)
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sara Bruner
The only thing that stands between Bianca and a bevy of eligible suitors is her quick-tempered, elder sister Katherina. That is until fortune-hunting Petruchio takes up the challenge to “tame” Kate and make her his wife.
A madcap marriage and much mayhem ensues in a beguiling battle of wits and wills between the sexes which ultimately reveals an unlikely romance. Can love tame a shrewish heart and surprise an unbridled bachelor?
Consider ONSTAGE seating when planning your visit to enjoy the fullness of this unique production. (Onstage seats are padded benches with backs similar in style to church pews. The bench seat is padded. Seating is assigned.)
The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare in American Communities. Great Lakes Theater is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle and high school students in communities across the United States.
The Taming of the Shrew Playbill
Baptista Minola has a daughter problem. Three suitors (Hortensio, Gremio, and Lucentio) want to marry his younger daughter Bianca. No one wants to marry her older sister, the fiery Katherine. Baptista decides no one will have Bianca until someone marries Katherine.
Enter Petruchio. He has come to Padua to marry wealthily. His friend Hortensio mentions Katherine and, despite warnings about her temper, Petruchio is determined to marry her. Her father is very rich. Very. After a turbulent wooing, Petruchio declares the two will be married Sunday.
Petruchio has a strategy to “tame” Katherine. It begins at the wedding. He shows up late, in a terrible outfit, and refuses to stay for the wedding supper. When they get to his house, he deprives her of food and sleep and disrupts social norms. Katherine sees through his tactics and they learn to be together.
Meanwhile, Lucentio gets close to Bianca by disguising himself as a tutor. His servant impersonates him and outbids the other suitors. Lucentio’s gambit wins her heart and her father’s permission. They are married and Petruchio and Katherine travel to celebrate their nuptials. The men bet on which of their wives are most obedient and the answer (delightfully) surprises everyone.
- Lue Douthit | Dramaturg, The Taming of the Shrew
I’ve been in an on again off again relationship with The Taming of the Shrew for 24 years now. It started in high school - I was enamored by the comedy and loved the feisty Kate. I was falling in love with Shakespeare at the time and wasn’t clocking the “problems” with the play. Things were easy then. As time passed, I met up with the play every few years - I cut and directed a version, watched the brilliant Bill Ball ACT production on DVD over and over and over again (this is a rite of passage for any true Shakespeare nerd), played Bianca, and then eventually played Kate.
Over time the play became harder for me to reconcile and it’s not that the play changed, my lens did. So here we are again, standing toe to toe in a moment when cultural context seems to raise the stakes more than ever. These plays have endured not because they offer solutions, but because they ask the right questions- so maybe right now is the exact moment for Taming. No, we do not live in Shakespeare’s world of dowries, deals over daughters, stringent social strata and limited mobility for women but, we are on its continuum. Down the road 400 years, and we are still operating in relationship to it. In some ways we’ve come so far, in other ways…well, I’ll let you wrestle with that. If our job is to hold up the mirror, it is our duty to do it from every angle, even the unflattering ones.
- Sara Bruner | Director, The Taming of the Shrew
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