Theatre production gives Shakespeare new life

By Angela Stevens

In the “Taming of the Shrew,” a young woman named Kate (played by Yovanna Quintero) becomes infatuated with a good-looking stranger named Petruchio (Colin Guthrie) at a bar.

While Kate is trying to have her moment with the brooding stranger, her sister, Bianca (Samantha Avila), rudely interrupts the two, in hopes of wooing the young stranger over.

Kate does not take kindly to her sister’s interruption and ends up starting a fierce fight with her. Kate then sadly walks out onto the side and leans up against the wall as she passes out. Everything that happens while Kate is incapacitated takes place in a dream.

“I eventually decided to tell the story as an absurd dream,” said professor Julian White, director of the play. “One might say a nightmare.”

This entire scene was never in Shakespeare’s original play. Innovations like these keep the performance fresh for those who have seen adaptations of this play. Keeping the play in modern times also helps give a unique appeal to audience members who have never thought Shakespeare was for them.

Throughout the rest of the play, men conspire to get Kate married so that her younger sister Bianca can marry. In this world, a younger sister cannot marry until her older sister is married first -which is true of the original play as well.

Later in the play, Petruchio meets Kate again, this time played by Kaitlyn Tice, and becomes violent, harassing Kate. Petruchio restrains Kate to sit on his lap and later in the same scene forces himself on top of her as she tries to fight him off.

Petruchio ends up making a “gentleman’s agreement” with Kate’s father, Baptista Minola (Cara Megan Vilencia), for Kate’s hand in marriage.

The marriage later proves to be a disaster as Petruchio starves Kate and deprives her of sleep to force her into becoming a submissive wife. He decides that he will either “tame the shrew” that he considers her to be or he will let her die.

Audience members may cringe while watching Kate go through what seems to be a living hell. It is a testament to the production for realistically depicting an abusive relationship, like the one between Kate and Petruchio.

Fourth-year theatre student Vilencia stated that this play is a “reflection of society because it portrays relationships in an honest way” showing that relationships change us.”

The second actor playing Petruchio, Tice, really stands out in this role.

Tice not only has to play a man’s part -as do most of the actors- but a sadistic arrogant man. Tice plays this role with great excitement and conviction.

She is proof that the theatre program is turning out incredible, promising actors.

There are numerous fight scenes depicted that do not look staged or artificial. The fight scenes are very powerful and realistic to the point that a viewer may be afraid that a character may be thrown into the audience. These scenes exemplify pure action that feels like it is really happening.

The music that was selected ranges in variety from modern music to hits from the seventies.

The music is both surprising and unique, setting interesting tones for the scenes.

The set design is also very elaborate. Meron Ashenafi, a third-year biology student who plays Tranio, Philip and Haberdasher, said that the set “made me feel like I was really in the city itself.”

The lighting and costume design is very colorful. While the set is mostly blank and wooden, it enables the audience members to use their imaginations.

Ashenafi also stated that she appreciated White’s directing style.

“It’s not what I expected,” said Ashefani. “He gives us so much freedom to try things out so that we do not feel robotic repeating the same lines over and over again.”

This kind of directing style was very helpful to Ashenafi, who said this was the first play that she has acted in, and now she dreams of making acting her career some day.

Overall, the play is inventive and gives new life to Shakespeare.

Remaining productions of “The Taming of the Shrew” will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Matinees will be held on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

All performances will be shown on campus in the University Theatre in Building 25.

The theatre production featuring an entirely all female cast

Courtesy of Janeth Garcia

The theatre production featuring an entirely all female cast

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