THE TAMING OF THE SHREW to Open Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park's 2017 Season
Shakespeare's raucous comedy The Taming of the Shrew opens Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park 2017 season on June 1st.
The Taming of the Shrew is a familiar story to almost everyone: One man, Petruchio, bets two friends that he can woo the notoriously short-tempered Kate, and though they fight bitterly in the beginning, they eventually gain each other's respect and fall in love.
In a typical production of the Shakespearean romantic comedy, Kate and Petruchio are meant to be foolish, immature and bullheaded-in other words, they're meant to be young. But director Caprice Woosley has a different idea for this "Shrew," one that tempers the taming, subtracts much of the shrewishness and gives the two leads a few more years of life experience
The Taming of the Shrew, in some circles is thought of as a misogynist play, one in which Petruchio intends to subvert Kate's will and curb her shrewish temper in order to become a proper wife. Yet many forget that the play is slightly framed by the erasable character of Christopher Sly, Shakepeare's artistic creation to employ his trick of a play within a play in order to speak to a truth in society. Shakespeare offers up a mix of sit-com and reality TV with pranks, disguises, and confrontations.
Sly is a drunk and becomes the butt of a Lord's joke, that is to convince Sly he himself is a Lord with fine things and a fine wife. The joke is at Sly's expense simply for the pleasure of the Lord. The Lord employs a group of actors to help him pull off the joke in front of his friends. Part of the joke is subjecting Sly to watching a play about a man who wants to tame a shrew. Sly even talks back to the actors mid play.
Any of this sound familiar? People with class superiority who play a trick on the common person to make them think they are on the same level. People who comment about a theatrical experience or talk back during one? Do we even need to bring up the disrespect of women by power players in our culture today?
The Taming of the Shrew allows us to examine ourselves against the times that we live in. Issues of gender and class and trickery and deceit fill the news every day. Shakespeare allows his characters to speak to the ills of the land in a way that helps us listen instead of react. It is masked in comedy, so we laugh, and let the laughter open us up to the lesson to be learned.
The Taming of the Shrew is like an episode of Saturday Night Live, lampooning many topical subjects that are still relevant today like women's rights, male dominated world views, class struggles, and even a bit of The Bachelor, with three men vying for one Bachelorette. So Kate or Bianca...who will get the final rose?
THE 2017 OKLAHOMA SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK SEASON:
The Taming of the Shrew
Directed by Caprice Woosley
In Shakespeare's most outrageous comedy, sweet tempered daddy's girl, Bianca, can have her pick of suitors- but not until her sister, the acid-tongued Kate can be married off. Rising to the challenge is new man in town, Petruchio, but can he match Kate jab for jab? A hilarious, delirious tangle of masquerades and misdirection plays out as Bianca finds herself with too many suitors and Kate and Petruchio seem hell-bent on outwitting each other and in the end this surprising love story dares to ask what roles we play...and underneath who we really are.
Directed by Laura Standley
"All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds."- Virginia Woolf
Aphra Behn, known to history as the first credited female playwright, has one opportunity to have her play produced and fulfill her desperate desire to leave the spy trade behind her. The catch? She must finish and deliver her play by morning all while fighting off distracting romantic temptations, attempting to win a pardon, and trying to save the life of royalty. Her hectic antics unfold into a night of hilarity, passion and self discovery that transcends time.
By Noel Coward
Directed by Emily Heugatter
Champagne and laughter will explode with Noel Coward's timeless comedy
Private Lives. Glamorous, rich and reckless, Elyot and Amanda have been divorced from each other for five years. Now both are honeymooning with their new spouses in the South of France. When by chance they meet again across adjoining hotel balconies, their romantic feelings for each other are immediately rekindled. Without a care for scandal, new partners or memories of what drove them apart in the first place, they hurl themselves headlong into love and lust. Private Lives is a dazzling witty masterpiece and considered to be one of the greatest comedies ever written.
Directed by D. Lance Marsh
An unrequited ghost, an indecisive prince, a kingdom in chaos: something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Shakespeare's dark tale of power, murder and vengeance is regarded by many as the most influential work ever written for the stage. This richly complex tragedy unfolds as the young prince of Denmark swears to avenge the untimely death of his beloved father and pulls his country into a maelstrom of madness and murder.
Tickets are available online at www.oklahomashakespeare.com.
Founded in 1985 by Executive Director Kathryn McGill and the late Jack O'Meara, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park has been bringing first-rate professional productions of Shakespeare and the classics to life in Central Oklahoma for 33 seasons. This season's shows will be performed outdoors in downtown OKC at the Myriad Gardens Water Stage and at OSP's new studio space in the historic Paseo Arts District. The organization's educational outreach programs help Shakespeare come alive for students and teachers in classrooms throughout the state. OSP is supported by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Jerome Westheimer Family Foundation, Allied Arts, The Inasmuch Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, OCCF. Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park is a proud member of Actors' Equity.