CST's Short Shakespeare! productions offer the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for audiences of all ages. Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew is a love story as two people, taken by surprise, fall in love quite against their will. It also happens to be a slapstick comedy—about gender roles, power and money, as the wild-spirited Kate and unbudging Petruchio scream, fight and woo their way into each other's heart in this high-spirited battle of the sexes.
Approximate Running Time: 75 minutes (no intermission), plus 15 minute post-show discussion
"There is no shortage of wit and fun in this slapstick-infused adaptation."
– Chicago Sun-Times
Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew is part of the 2007 LaSalle Bank Family Festival of Plays.
Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew is presented in the Jentes Family Auditorium.
A wealthy merchant named Baptista Minola has made up his mind about his two daughters: his lovely younger daughter Bianca will not wed until her older sister, Katherina “the curs’d,” is married off. The field of frustrated suitors for Bianca’s hand is already crowded with local hopefuls like Hortensio and old Gremio.
Then a young gentleman named Lucentio arrives in town to pursue his studies at the great university in Padua—but one look at Baptista’s younger daughter drives Lucentio to leave all learning behind. To gain access to Bianca without her father’s knowledge, Hortensio puts on the robes of a music teacher, while Lucentio disguises himself as a tutor of the classics, passing off his own identity to his servant Tranio.
Just when it seems that the younger sister will never be available, another unexpected suitor arrives in town. His name is Petruchio—an adventurer undaunted by danger, and determined to shore up his financial future through marriage ... to Katherina. After a stormy courtship, Petruchio manages to escort his Kate down the aisle, and sets out to tame his new wife.
With Bianca now free to marry, Tranio (disguised as his master Lucentio) outbids Gremio for her hand. Baptista demands assurance from the young man’s father, and a suitable imposter is found to play the part. True identities are at last revealed and the marriages celebrated.
– Contributed by the CST Education Department
A Scholar's Perspective by Wendy Doniger
Wendy Doniger leads us through a friendly feminist critique of Shakespeare's comedy of courtship.
Familiar stories of shrewish wives and their husbands' efforts to change them served as Shakespeare's inspiration.
The Tradition of Commedia dell'Arte
Broad physical humor, stock characters, and disguise—evidence of the pervasive influence of commedia dell'arte in Shakespeare's time.
The Meaning of "Supposes"
Elizabethan "sumptuary laws" helped maintain class structures by controlling who was allowed to buy luxury goods, including expensive clothing.
Performance History on Stage and Film
David Garrick, Douglas Fairbanks, and Richard Burton have all breathed life into Petruchio, with firery leading ladies like Mary Pickford and Elizabeth Taylor as the titular Shrew. From traditional stage productions to inventive adpatations, this play has had quite a life in performance.
Scholars, Authors and Artists on The Taming of the Shrew
George Bernard Shaw, director David H. Bell, and actress Fiona Shaw are among the many critics and artists with insights into this comedy.
A portal to the world of Shakespeare, these selected internet sites lead further into the exploration of Shakespeare in performance, his life and times, the original texts, and much more.