Sometimes the battle of the sexes is not enough. The Drilling Company reads turf wars and class consciousness into its production of "The Taming of the Shrew," to be presented September 4 to 20 as part of Bryant Park Shakespeare, directed by Alessandro Colla. In an intrepid adaptation, the popular comedy is transported to a modern New England fishing village, not unlike Martha's Vineyard, where Katherina is a member of the yachting set and Petruchio is a local fisherman.
In this Padua-on-Atlantic, there is lots of tension between the summer vacationers (Gremio, Hortensio, Lucentio) and the townies (Petruchio, Grumio, Curtis). The latter are the kind of people who live off the sea. They don't play tennis and they don't show status in their dress. Petruchio, a seafaring man, wants to marry well because he's broke, like many fishermen are today. Director Alessandro Colla relates that that the concept came to him via metaphorical thinking. He explains, "Free-associating on the play, I imagined that Bianca is the beach and everybody wants to go swimming. But Kate is the shark. So everybody needs Petruchio to catch the shark so they could go back in the water...it's like 'Jaws,' where the town needed the fisherman." Katherina and Petruchio are an unlikely pair, but not as unlikely as you might think because in this interpretation, they are both very anti-conformist. When Katherina presents herself as a trophy wife at the end, it's because she is also excellent at flipping expectations.
This "Shrew" is the third of three free Shakespeare productions by The Drilling Company, producer of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, to be performed in Bryant Park this summer. It follows "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (May 15-31), which was set in Little Italy, and "Romeo and Juliet" (July 17 to August 2), which was set in a modern city divided by wealth and class, to send a clear message about the violence that can result from social division and corporate greed.
|The Taming of the Shrew opens this Friday, September 4.|
Director Alessandro Colla has helmed "Vignettes for the Apocalypse" (Endgames Productions), "Grizzled Bear" byMark London Williams (Gene Frankel Theatre Underground), "God Costume" by Daniel Carroll (Red Room Theater) and "Texas Textbook Massacre" by Micah McCoy (Kraine Theatre). For Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, he has appeared in the title roles of "Hamlet" and "Richard III." He played Toby Belch in "Twelfth Night" and most recently, Touchstone in this summer's "As You Like It." He achieved considerable critical success as the Woyzeck character in The Drilling Company's celebrated production of "Reservoir" by Eric Henry Sanders, which premiered in 2010 and had a return engagement in 2011.
Hamilton Clancy, Artistic Director of The Drilling Company and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, writes, "Alessandro has been an essential in our creative process for over a decade and we're thrilled to welcome his tremendous acumen for the stage in the helm as director of 'Shrew.'"
The cast includes Alessandro Colla as Petruchio, Evangeline Fontaine as Katherina, Lukas Raphael as Lucentio,Mary Linehan as Bianca, Jonathan Eric Foster as Vincentio, Brandon Reilly as Biondello, Bill Galarno as Baptista, Michael Tyler as Hortensio, Michael Bernstein as Gremio, Jack Sochet as Pedant, Eric Paterniani as Grumio, Colleen Cosgrove as Widow, Jarrod Bates as Tranio and Eli Branson as Curtis. Set design is by Jennifer Varbalow. Sound design is by Anna Grossman.