Shakespeare’s fiery courtship between the strong-willed Katharina and fortune-seeking Petruchio bursts onto CST’s stage in a sumptuous new staging set in the sixteenth-century Italian Renaissance. CST welcomes back to Chicago British director Josie Rourke, who delighted audiences with Twelfth Night last season. This exciting production of The Taming of the Shrew incorporates new, contemporary scenes written by Neil LaBute—one of America’s leading dramatists best known on both sides of the Atlantic for his piercing, thought-provoking work—providing audiences a unique twenty-first century lens into Shakespeare’s ever-popular and controversial play.
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (includes intermission)
Recommended for late teens and up. Read more
The Taming of the Shrew is presented in the Jentes Family Auditorium.
The Taming of the Shrew has received support from a competitive grant opportunity administered by the National Endowment for the Arts, using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The Frame Setting: Now
A company of actors, in the midst of "tech" rehearsal, prepares for a production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, soon to open. The Director and the actress playing Kate have been partners, personally and professionally, for years. The Director confronts "Kate's" promiscuous behavior with another member of the company, the actress playing the role of Bianca. The two women argue about the nature of their partnership and their two, very different interpretations of commitment. Kate accuses the Director of using the play they are publicly rehearsing to tame her in their private relationship. As they rehearse a production set in sixteenth-century Italy, members of the cast react to issues that Shakespeare's play evokes in their twenty-first century lives.
The Taming of the Shrew Setting: Sixteenth-century Italy
In Padua, Italy, a wealthy merchant named Baptista is resolved: his lovely daughter Bianca will not be wed until her elder sister, Katherina "the curs'd," is married off. The field of frustrated suitors for Bianca's hand is crowded already with local gentlemen like Hortensio and Gremio when Lucentio arrives in town to pursue his studies. Like the others before him, he is driven to leave all learning behind after taking one look at Baptista's younger daughter. To gain access to Baptista's treasure, Hortensio dons the robes of a music teacher, while Lucentio disguises himself as a tutor, passing off his own identity to his servant Tranio. Just when it seems as though Bianca will never be free to wed, another suitor comes to town. His name is Petruchio—an adventurer undaunted by danger, and one determined to shore up his financial future through marriage...to Katherina.
After a sudden and stormy courtship, Petruchio manages to escort his "Kate" down the aisle, and sets out to tame his new wife. By outbidding Gremio, Tranio manages to convince Baptista that he (that is, his master Lucentio) is the man for Bianca. When Baptista requires assurance from the young man's father, a suitable imposter is found to play the part, and still another disguise baffles Baptista—not to mention Lucentio's real father, who arrives in Padua at just the wrong moment. In the end, true identities are revealed, three marriages are celebrated, and a wager is placed as the newlyweds roll the dice on married life.
– Contributed by the CST Education Department