The Taming of the Shrew, written by William Shakespeare and reinterpreted by director Scott Dunlap, opens Friday on the Chattanooga Theatre Centre Circle Stage and runs through March 16.
Review for The Taming of the Shrew:
The last time Mr. Dunlap took on a work by Shakespeare, the result was the dramatic and riveting “Mr. & Mrs. M” (Macbeth), which won the Theatre Centre’s Miss Annie Award for best production in 2012. This time it’s a romantic comedy…one of Shakespeare’s funniest.
“I like Shakespeare, and I appreciate a great story,” says Mr. Dunlap, “but I’m not a purist.”
As such, he has no qualms about re-imagining Padua as a town like Manhattan’s Little Italy and setting it in one of Mr. Dunlap’s favorite periods, the early 1960’s. But even set to the beat of a score of familiar tunes by Louis Prima, Rosemary Clooney, and Tony Bennett, the love story remains the same.
“This is really the latest time period you can set a story like this one,” he says. “Any later and you’re into the women’s movement.”
“The Taming of the Shrew” is the tale of two sisters. Sweet-tempered daddy’s girl Bianca (Laura Holland) can have her pick of suitors—but not until her sister, the acid-tongued Kate (Lizzie Chazen), can be married off. Rising to the challenge is Petruchio (Jim Eernisse), but can he match Kate jab for jab? A hilarious, delirious tangle of masquerades and misdirection that becomes, in the end, a surprising love story.
The cast also includes Thomas Alford (Vincentio), Justin Bridges (Hortensio), Laith Dobbs (Tranio); Cory Gold (Lucentio),Stacy Helton (the Pedant); Casey Jackson (Grumio); Sandra Jennings (Biondello); Judy LaMance (Baptista); Stefanie Oppenheimer (a Widow); and Greg Rambin (Gremio). Shanelle Knight is Stage Manager.
“‘Doing Shakespeare’ sounds elitist,” Mr. Dunlap says. “But with this production, I want people who think they don’t understand Shakespeare just to have fun and enjoy the play. The fact that it’s Shakespeare is secondary.”
“Chuck Tuttle, our education director, offered a great analogy,” Mr. Dunlap says. “When we go to the symphony, we don’t have to distinguish every note to appreciate the music and understand the emotion. That’s the way it is with Shakespeare. Because if you get caught up in the language and don’t enjoy the play, what’s the point?”
The Taming of the Shrew had two previous runs in the Theatre’s 90 seasons: in 1934 and 1966. It is the earliest play in CTC history that the community theatre is performing during the anniversary season.
The CTC also marks William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday with the unveiling of a life-size statue entitled “Young Shakespeare” by noted sculptor Lawrence Holofcener at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, on the lawn of the CTC following the final performance of the production. The statue is a gift from Jo Coke, former president of the CTC board of directors.
Performances on the Circle Stage are as follows:
Friday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m. Opening Night Gala begins at 7 p.m. (Sold Out)
Saturday, March 1, 8 p.m.
Thursday, March 6, 7 p.m. Featuring real-time captioning
Friday, March 7, 8 p.m. Ghost Light Session (Q&A w/ actors and director afterwards)
Saturday, March 8, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 9, 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 13, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 14, 8 p.m. Brewer Media Sponsors Girls’ Night Out
Saturday, March 15, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 16, 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 other public performances. $12.50 side section seating available for Thursday and Sunday performances. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling the box office 267-8534 or online at TheatreCentre.com.