The Induction (cut from CST's upcoming production)
Christopher Sly, a tinker, is found drunk and unconscious at a Warwickshire inn by the local lord. For his own amusement, the lord decides to convince Sly that he is not a poor tinker, but rather a nobleman who has fallen ill and forgotten his true identity. A troupe of traveling players arrives and is put to use: to perform a play for "the nobleman’s" entertainment. When Sly awakes from his drunken stupor at the lord’s manor house, he is clothed in finery and surrounded by attendants and his "wife," a servant of the lord. Sly is more inclined to enjoy his wife than the play, but is warned that sex will prompt a relapse into illness. The players are announced and Sly prepares to watch.
Baptista Minola, a rich merchant of Padua, has two daughters: Katharina, the elder, is notorious far and wide for her "devilish spirit," while her younger sister Bianca is greatly desired for her "beauteous modesty." As the play-within-a-play opens, Lucentio, an enthusiastic young scholar, has just arrived in town with his servant Tranio to attend university. The two watch as Baptista tells Hortensio and Gremio, both eager suitors of Bianca, that his younger daughter cannot marry before a match is found for Katharina. Though the suitors believe this to be an impossible feat, they agree to Baptista’s terms so each can continue to pursue the lovely Bianca.
Watching the family scene play out in front of him, Lucentio falls in love at first sight with Bianca. Tranio suggest that the two of them exchange clothes so that Lucentio, presenting himself as a tutor for Bianca named "Cambio," can gain access to Baptista’s household. One of Bianca’s other suitors, the elderly Gremio, hires "Cambio" and offers him as a favor to Baptista for his girls’ education.
Meanwhile, Petruchio, a worldly and self-admitted fortune hunter, arrives in Padua on the heels of his father’s death to repair his fortune—seeking a bride with a substantial dowry. His friend Hortensio has faint hopes that Petruchio may be the answer to the Katharina problem that stands in the way of Bianca. He tells Petruchio about Katharina, but warns him of her shrewish ways, but Petruchio is resolved: he will marry Katharina and secure a fortune. Hortensio now disguises himself as a music teacher named "Litio," and offers his services to the Minola family. Tranio, dressed as his master Lucentio, becomes yet another suitor to Bianca in disguise. As "Lucentio," he intends to secure an agreement with her father while the real Lucentio (as "Cambio," the tutor), wins Bianca’s love.
The exasperated Baptista intervenes as Bianca once more suffers her sister’s abuse. Baptista shows his favoritism for Bianca, and Katharina responds with hurt and more verbal abuse. Petruchio, Hortensio (disguised as "Litio"), Gremio and Lucentio (disguised as "Cambio") all arrive at the same moment to the home of Baptista. Without ceremony, Petruchio introduces himself as a suitor to Katharina. Gremio presents "Cambio" (Lucentio) as a tutor for the girls; and "Litio" (Hortensio) offers himself as a music teacher. Tranio, dressed as his master Lucentio, arrives and declares himself another suitor to Bianca. Petruchio says that he has no time to lose and hastens a marriage agreement with Baptista before he ever sets eyes upon his intended. Baptista agrees conditionally: Petruchio, he says, must first win Katharina’s affection. Hortensio returns to report that the broken instrument he now wears over his head is the work of his unruly new pupil, Katharina. Petruchio prepares himself to meet herů
Katharina appears and Petruchio immediately adopts a familiar tone, addressing her as "Kate," and lavishly and unconvincingly complimenting her. She responds with a violent tongue-lashing, but Petruchio is undaunted; Katharina has at last met her verbal match. Petruchio concludes their first meeting by proclaiming that their wedding day is set for Sunday, and Baptista returns to consecrate the match.
With Katharina’s marriage all arranged, Bianca becomes available. Gremio and "Lucentio" (that is, Tranio) bid for Bianca’s hand by demonstrating their comparative wealth to Baptista. Tranio outbids Gremio by exaggerating the fortune of "his" father, Vincentio. Baptista agrees to the match with Lucentio—provided the young man can present his father to vouch for the agreement. Tranio plans to recruit an elderly stand-in.
Lucentio (as "Cambio") and Hortensio (as "Litio") vie for their pretty pupil’s attention. Through the Latin lesson, Lucentio reveals his true identity to Bianca, who does not discourage his advances. Hortensio pronounces his love, too, to a dismissive Bianca.
Sunday arrives, and Petruchio arrives so late to his wedding that everyone, including Katharina, is sure he has stood her up. When at last he makes his appearance, he is dressed so outrageously that Baptista and Tranio plead with him to change his clothes before the ceremony. He refuses, determined that Kate will marry him for who he is rather than for the clothes he wears. Gremio describes the ceremony and Petruchio’s antics, which occur off stage. The wedded couple and their party return from church, but Petruchio insists that he and his bride depart immediately before their wedding banquet. Furious, Kate resists, but is carried off against her will to Petruchio’s country house.
Grumio arrives at Petruchio’s country house ahead of the couple, and to the other servants reports his master’s outrageous behavior throughout the journey home. Katharina arrives mud-soaked, hungry and cold. Ordering dinner for his exhausted bride, Petruchio then does not allow her to eat. They retire to bed, where he continues to rant and rave, and deprives her of much-needed sleep. Petruchio confides his plan to "tame" Kate, and admits his own uncertainty.
Back in Padua, Hortensio witnesses the attention Bianca pays toward Lucentio, and angrily ends his pursuit, vowing to marry a rich widow instead. Tranio, encountering a stranger on the road traveling to Padua, fabricates a story of imminent danger and offers the traveler safe disguise—as Lucentio’s father, Vincentio—who can now assure Baptista that the marriage terms that his "son" has promised are binding.
Meanwhile, at Petruchio’s home, the education of Katharina continues. He offers her beautiful garments to wear to her father’s home, then takes back his gifts, asserting that Katharina will have gentlewoman’s clothes when she becomes a gentlewoman. The couple’s journey back to Padua is halted each time that Katharina crosses her husband. The lesson learned at last, she proves her obedience by agreeing with her husband that the sun is indeed the moon and that the old man they meet along the way (as it turns out, Lucentio’s real father) is, in fact, a young maiden.
Tranio introduces his shill to Baptista, and the marriage between Lucentio and Bianca is settled. Lucentio’s other servant, Biondello, meanwhile, encourages his master to elope with Bianca while her father is otherwise occupied.
The real Vincentio arrives in Padua to visit his son, and finds an imposter pretending to be him and his own servant, Tranio, pretending to be his son. Vincentio fears foul play. But the Paduans, believing the imposters, doubt Vincentio’s identity and are about to cart the old man off to jail, just when the real Lucentio appears with his new bride. Both fathers are amazed, but Vincentio promises Baptista satisfaction of the terms of the marriage agreement made with an imposter.
All retire for a wedding feast honoring the marriages of Baptista’s two daughters and of Hortensio to his rich widow. The ladies withdraw and the husbands place a wager on whose wife will prove the most obedient. Petruchio wins. He then asks Kate to tell the other women of their wifely duties. She does so, much to everyone’s amazement—and Petruchio’s pleasure.
– Contributed by the CST Education Department