A Note From the Director
I never thought I would direct a production of The Taming of the Shrew. On the surface, it is a show about an abusive relationship, a man who denies a woman food, rest, and family until she succumbs to his will and is ‘tamed.’ On the surface, it a message that woman, in order to survive well, must be obedient; giving up independence and independent thought. Being independent, and a bit headstrong myself, that is a message that I just could not wrap my head around.
But, each year, actors and audience alike would suggest we do “The Taming of the Shrew” next.
So much popularity warranted another look. I read the show with fresh eyes to find out what else the show had to offer.
Taming of the Shrew is first and foremost a comedy. It is also a love story. Once I grabbed hold of the love story; how love can bring out the best in any of us, and how love can surprise us at any time, it became clear that I could do this show.
That doesn’t change the fact that Petruchio is a bully or that Kate is a ‘shrew.’ They are, but if we take into consideration the reasons they behave the way they do, we can ferret out more of the comedic intent of the show.
Humor is after all what Shakespeare had in mind……and what is so amazing about Shakespeare is how timeless the plots and dialog remain. I love taking any given line, and giving it a simple little twist in punctuation or word emphasis, and watching the intent of that line, and the humor found in that line transform!!
Perhaps because the fairy tale genre is trendy right now…or perhaps because it is a love story, with a happy ending that caused me to lean in that direction. Love after all, conquers and cures, rather than bullies. Kate and Petruchio match wits, match intelligence, match humor, and fall in love….and live happily ever after.
This summer’s cast has been a dream come true to work with as well. There has been countless hours of hard work, in very warm weather, put into this labor of love. We hope you enjoy the outcome as much as we have enjoyed the journey to bring this show to you.
We went to the most recent board meeting of the Batavia Arts Council to build momentum for Shakespeare and Clark to find support for the coming season. The meeting was wonderful and the board is in whole support of keeping Shakespeare in the town of Batavia. Thrilled they are willing to work with us to build support with Batavia Main Street, the Park District and the City. And we are going to BOTH be a part of the Annual Polo Tournament Fund Raiser held at the Blackberry Polo Field on Bliss Road in Batavia. The date for that fund raiser is July 22nd, 2012. We are hoping to really make it a well attended and fun filled day, in order to raise funds to help the Arts Council continue it's support of all of the arts in Batavia, and to keep Shakespeare on Clark in Batavia.
So, we must plan our next season....everyone was so helpful last year in giving opinions to our show selection!!
I have directed A Midsummer Nights Dream ever three years!!!! and this is that third year!! But there are so many comedies that I have not done yet....so let me know your thoughts!!! Tempest would certainly suit the Island location (if we indeed stay there), but it is very wordy (even for Shakespeare) and difficult to edit and maintain the flow of the production, and limited in female friendly roles; Taming of the Shrew is well known and would draw a good audience; Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It are also well recognized names; Two Gentleman From Verona....a favotite of mine...but posed the problem of finding not one!! but two sets of twins!!!: Love's Labour's Lost.....Merchant of Venice....to many to choose from!!!
I would love to hear opinions!!!
Rehearsals for The Merry Wives of Windsor are underway, and this cast is going to be fantastic. We took a fw photos and Ryan Stasell, our graphic design artist, and our 'Fenton" on the stage created this magnificent poster!!
It has a bit of the Old West feel we are using as the backdrop for the show. With character names of Pistol, Shallow, Simple and Quickly....the Western genre just fits. I hope you will join us out on the lawn of Clark Island to see our 90 minute edited version of this clever work of the Bard!!
With the announcement of the 2011 Shakespeare on Clark's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, I begin the task of editing the script down to our 90 minutes of romping fun!!! with respect to Shakespeare.
Our on line pole gave us interesting results, with no clear cut run away leader. The Merry Wives of Windsor did indeed top the scales, but had been selected for many other reasons. It truly is one of the funniest of the Bard's comedies, and it features four very strong female roles. Not that our troupe has ever been lacking fantastically talented men. On the contrary, we have been blessed with male talent, and that is perfect, as there are also so many plumb fun character roles for men in the play!! I do feel the biggest challenge will be finding that one male actor who can do justice to the choicest of roles: Falstaff!! He is such a big personality, and it will take a strong actor to bring his full spirit to life in the production!! Male actors...are you up for the challenge???
Auditions will be set soon!! We will hold them some time in May. We always do cold readings from the script...and I will announce when the edited version is available and can email that to anyone interested in auditioning!! We are a fun troupe.....I hope you will entertain the thought of auditioning and becoming a part of our ensemble!
And backstage assistance is always helpful!!
Shakespeare on Clark has become a yearly favorite of patrons as well as actors in our community. Each year we struggle with the choice of comedy to perform. Please join in the selection process! The scripts currently in consideration include As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, and Taming of the Shrew.
Taming of the Shrew is probably the best know, with spin offs including Kiss Me Kate and 10 Things I Hate About You. But the message within can be a troubling one if not dealt with gently. Petruchio's treatment of Kate boarders on abuse...if not completely crossing the line!! and it unfortunately has one firely role for a female, and then but a small few other parts for females. Much Ado About Nothing is a crowd favorite, a movie bringing greater exposure to the work, and it is fun...no doubt!! Again, it features one incredible female role, with but smaller parts for any other women wanting to work this show! As You Like It follows the usual plots of Shakespeare Comedy, cross dressing, mistaken identies and love lost and found and journeys into a forest!! Less produced is the A Comedy of Errors. A wonderful show, with two, count them...two sets of twins!!! Finding one set of actors who can pass for twins is difficult enough...but the show is hilarious, yet again, limited in roles for females. Shakespeare!! What were you thinking?? More of your actors could have stepped to the plate and worn dresses...seriously!! And the final play for consideration is The Merry Wives of Windsor, with four fine roles for females; it is one of the spunkiest of the Bard's works.
So we keep reading and reading to choose what will amuse, entertain, fullfill the needs of our patrons, our program and offer the best of roles for the talent pool that continues to build each season.
What would you like to see performed and why? What roles from what plays would you like to perform?
We really appreciate your comments and thoughts.....and please make a choice on our poll!!!