Red One Theatre Collective’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew will let audiences make up their own minds about issues of misogyny in the play.
Theatre companies often choose to perform or alter The Taming of the Shrew in a way that lets them make a specific point about the apparent misogyny in the narrative. Not so in this case. While Red One’s production toys with gender — Bianca is played by a male actor named Kelly Penner, and the father Baptista is now the mother and played by actress Claire Burns — it has no cohesive, central point to make about misogyny.
However, director Tyrone Savage encourages the actors and audiences to make up their own minds about this classic work. “I’m not going to do the play a disservice by cutting the difficult parts away. I’m letting the actors and the audience decide what it’s about. There’s a group scene at the end where every one of the actors can voice their opinion,” Savage says.
Savage emphasizes that the play is a comedy, and he intends to make the performance as entertaining as possible. For Shakespeare newbies, the play begins with the drunken Christopher Sly being tricked into thinking he’s a lord, and then he watches a play, and the play he watches is the bulk of The Taming of the Shrew. To make the narrative easier to relate to, Savage has set the opening sequence in the Klondike. “It was a time in our history that was sort of as rough and ready as the Elizabethans were, and it’s close enough to us that we can relate to it,” Savage says. Sly and those who deceive him will be played by puppets created by Daniel Briere.