Shakespeare’s comedic and controversial play The Taming of the Shrew is taking stage in the Black Box Theatre this week as Theatre St. Thomas’ only show of the season. Robin Whittaker, STU professor and director of Shrew, said playgoers can expect a story that transcends beyond the Elizabethan era for today’s audiences.
“It’s something that anyone can recognize: a bunch of guys going after the same girl,” said Whittaker.
TST’s Shrew will bring the comedy to a university of 2014, complete with hipsters, rich kids and frat boys. Shrew begins with a framing device, but it doesn’t end with one. So Whittaker decided to write one himself.
“It’s experimental. But we’re at a university, so why not try something?”
The Taming of the Shrew is also often seen as one of Shakespeare’s most misogynistic plays. The story follows the “shrew” Kate and her relationship with Petruchio, the tamer. At least, that’s how the relationship is typically viewed, but STU student Sharisse LeBrun plays the ever-angry Kate and she has a different interpretation.
“The big journey for Kate is learning how to get what she wants and get her freedom in a more effective way and a healthier way. And that’s what Petruchio teaches her,” said LeBrun.
Both LeBrun and Whittaker said some audience members might see Shrew as an endorsement of spousal abuse, but this is a superficial understanding. LeBrun said it’s a hilarious story of a particular kind of love.
“People are going to have fun,” said Whittaker. “I think they’re going to have a full immersive theatre experience.”
The Taming of the Shrew will be in the Black Box theatre in Sir James Dunn Hall from Nov. 19 to 22. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets cost $10, $5 for students and seniors.