Shakespeare for Everyone

 

2007
A.R.T./N.Y.
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or What You Will

by William Shakespeare
adapted & directed by Deborah Wright Houston

 

Kings County Shakespeare Company's ''Taming of The Shrew,'' retitled ''Ruff Love,'' dilutes the anti-feminist message by turning Baptista, the girls' father, into the girls mother (ably played by Mary Lou Kylis), but otherwise leaving Shakespeare's comedy for the most part intact.

There are no bells and whistles here, but with little else besides a wood-paneled stage and elegant Elizabethan attire, director Deborah Wright Houston creates the intimate atmosphere of a luxurious residence in Padua.

Charlie Coniglio is the lusty lover, Petruchio, who meets his match in the earthy and exuberant Katherine (the saucy Rachel Alt). Cotton Wright plays Bianca as a smug and sly coquette who thoroughly enjoys her privileged position in the family. The contrast between the two young girls makes perfectly clear the limited choices available to women at that time and how noble is Katherine's revolt.

Houston cleverly stages a number of scenes behind closed doors, suggesting what's going on by the noise and the objects thrown onstage. She also compensates for the small stage by using the entire theater space. In this way she engages the audience and challenges everyone to use imagination to fill in the gaps.

But what really makes this production work is the obvious attraction Kate has for Petruchio. When she submits to him it is more out of love than defeat. Nevertheless even though Kate says, ''Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper'' at the end of the play, one suspects Petruchio's life with his wife will be pleasant, but it probably won't be peaceful.

At the end of this season, Houston will be retiring as artistic director of Kings County Shakespeare. She is certainly leaving in a theatrical blaze of glory.

Paulanne Simmons, nytheatre-wire.com

 

 

 

Rachel Alt (Kate) & Charlie Conigliio (Petruchio).  Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

CAST

The Introduction

Head Actor

Andrew Oswald*

Young Actors

Charlie Coniglio,
Neimah Djourabchi

Company Manager

Roger Dale Stude

Master of Ceremonies

Dana Pagliara

Her Royal Highness

Mary Lou Kylis

The Play

Lucentio

Neimah Djourabchi

Tranio

Andrew Oswald*

Baptista Minola

Mary Lou Kylis

Gremio

Brian Rhinehart*

Katherine

Rachel Alt

Hortensio

Roger Dale Stude

Bianca

Cotton Wright*

Biondello

Joseph Small*

Petruchio

Charlie Coniglio

Grumio

Jovis DePognon

Curtis

Joseph Small*

Nicola

Norah Turnham

Pietro

Dana Pagliara

Sugarsop

Malena Negrão

A Pedant

Brian Rhinehart*

A Haberdasher Malena Negrão
A Tailor Dana Pagliara

Vincentio

Dana Pagliara

A Widow

Malena Negrão

*Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)

CREW

Stage Manager

Norah Turnham

Set & Properties

Lucie Chin

Fight Director

Lucie Chin

Costumes & Wigs

Deborah Wright Houston

Costumer

Linda Burlew

Press Jonathan Slaff Associates
Programs Joseph Small
Postcards Eamonn Fitzmaurice
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