“The Taming of the Shrew” is a Hit

By Mara Shapiro

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Dress Rehearsal of "The Taming of the Shrew". Photo by Vicky Robles

Before the play even starts there is a feel of Italy in the Black Box Theatre. A running fountain that reminds me of the ones in Old Orchard is set in the middle of the stage and a butler smiles politely as the audience files in. The viewing is in the round, meaning all four sides of the Theatre are  filled with people. Then the lights go out and “The Taming of the Shrew” is set to begin.

The opening scene seems quite random. All the actors dance-walk while talking to each other as “Mambo Italiano” blares from the speakers. Then Baptista Minola, played by junior Alex Wood, and two suitors, Hortensio(sophomore Cameron Broderick) and Gremio(sophomore Daniel Bedoya) discuss the plight of marrying off Baptista’s two daughters, the lovely Bianca(senior Katie Buckley), and Katherine the cursed(senior Rachel Prale). Katherine must be married before anyone can try to claim Bianca. Hortensio and Gremio of course both want Bianca, and unbeknownst to Baptista devise plans to tutor Bianca and evenutally win  her love.

Meanwhile, another suitor who lives outside of Verona, Lucentio (sophomore Surdeep Chauhan) glimpses Bianca and decides he must have her. Lucentio wants Bianca to fall in love with his true self and not the one full of riches, so he makes his servant Tronio (freshman Andre Eramia) take the name Lucentio while the real Lucentio goes off to woo Bianca.

Katherine, on the other hand, has a lot more trouble brewing for her than Bianca. No one wants to marry her; she publicly hits  men and her sister and drives her father up the wall. Hortensio and Gremio, in order to win Bianca’s love, entrap the greedy Petruchio, played by senior Steven Czajkowski, into winning Katherine’s heart. After a few sexual innuendos and the blessing of Baptista, Petruchio wins Katherine and drives her crazy, telling her what she can and can’t eat and even making her believe the moon is the sun.  Of course Bianca and Lucentio fall in love with Lucentio’s real identity revealed, and at the end Katherine has been “tamed” and is in love with Petruchio, even defending his honor against a sour widow, senior Anahita Karimi.

Overall, I loved this play. Czajkowski as Petruchio was hilarious. One minute he is all dressed up in a suit and the next he looks like a  crazed Musketeer as he shows up to his own wedding drunk as can be. I really enjoyed the portrayal of Petruchio’s right hand man, Grumio (junior Yassir Dasser). Dasser’s performance reminded me of the way Mercutio in the Leonardo DiCaprio version of “Romeo and Juliet” was acted out, minus the cross dressing.  “The Taming of the Shrew” was fantastic. Theatre director Andrew Sinclair and the cast and crew did a great job.