Wei Wen Sng '15 Contributing Writer
An active member of Smith’s vibrant theatre community, Kavita Bhandari ’17 recently took on the role of Gremio in alumna Portia Krieger’s reproduction of Shakespeare’s notorious comedy, “The Taming of The Shrew.” To Bhandari, who played Gremio, all her performances highly personal, and provide her with an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Here’s what the busy thespian (she balances her dramatic commitments with a double major in English and psychology) has to say about the stage, its challenges and her holy grail role as Lady Macbeth.
Tell me about your experience with theater at Smith. How has it shaped you as an actor?
I have been a part of a play reading and two mainstage productions during my time at Smith.Theater at Smith has been more professional than the small productions I have been a part of growing up. My experience with theater at Smith has been one of learning and discovery. Each production has helped me grow as an actress. As I played the different characters, I lived through their joys and emotions and discovered previously unknown facets of myself. I embraced the reality of the character, and infused it with my own experiences.
Given its antiquated, overtly sexist ideals, why do you think “The Taming of The Shrew” remains popular today?
Personally, “The Taming of the Shrew” is not one of my favorite Shakespeare plays given how misogynistic and offensive it is. The fact that it remains popular today makes me believe that there is more to the play than meets the eye. Many members of our audience laughed at the scenes of abuse and treated them ironically, almost as a subtle critique of society’s treatment of women.
You play Gremio, a suitor of Bianca — what challenges did you find whilst preparing for and playing the role?
Gremio is an old and foolish man who believes that he might have a chance with Bianca. I found it hard to identify with a man who is superficial and has patriarchal values. On a different note, I struggled with the walking cane but soon was able to integrate it into his character.
What is your favorite Shakespeare play?
My favorite Shakespeare play is “Othello.” The play provides a telling commentary on gender, race and sexuality, issues that are extremely relevant to today’s society.
Are you involved in any upcoming projects?
I intend to audition for “In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play),” a play that I am excited that Smith is staging in the Spring semester.
If you could pick a dream role, what would it be?
My dream role is Lady Macbeth from “Macbeth” as I believe that it would challenge me as an actress.