'Taming of the Shrew' Made Modern

Wei Wen Sng '15 Contributing Writer

Guest director Portia Krieger’s reimagining of William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy “The Taming of The Shrew” is just as bawdy and audacious as one would expect of so controversial a play. Krieger brings the piece into the modern age, and although the characters have swapped breeches and brogues for Hawaiian shirts and bermudas, their misogynistic ideals remain as unabashed as ever. Katherine Minola is the unfortunate recipient of all this nonsense, but she responds with a vigor and vengeance comparable to an erupting Vesuvius. Hell certainly has no fury like a woman scorned, especially one so cruelly compared to the nasty shrew.

Katherine, played by Camilla Skalski ’15, huffs and puffs and growls across the stage, incensed by her unwanted marriage to senior Ivy Croteau’s Petruchio. Swaggering and leather-clad, Petruchio attempts to subdue Katherine with his dubious wife-taming techniques.

Both Crouteau and Skalski share an intense on-stage chemistry, and despite the pair’s obvious incompatibility, we find ourselves rooting for them.

Crouteau plays Petruchio with a rakish, impurtabable energy, and it’s this indomitableness that makes him the sole match to Katherine’s wrath.

Skalski’s performance, brazen and electric, reveals to the audience lashings of her vulnerability. Katherine isn’t a petulant woman who pulls hair for no reason. Skalski, despite her small frame, lends strength to this character desperately trying to literally and figuratively break through the walls of her father’s and husband’s overbearing misogyny. She remains resolute in her goal not to be made the fool, and delivers this to the very end. She laces her final speech with heavy irony in a blow to archaic ideas of domestication and marriage.

On the whole, Kreiger’s “Taming of The Shrew” is easy to watch and its lightheartness makes a good weekend remedy for the anger of a stressed student’s heart. Honorable mentions go to Katherine’s father Baptista Minola, played by Samantha Biatch ’16, who displays a creepy, gleeful delight in discussing his daughter’s dowry. Maya Rivera’s ’16 Bianca, gentle and chirpy, presents a most unshrewish foil to Katherine. However, flashes of her affected pouting, suggests that she is not as modest as she is perceived to be. This re-enactment of Shakespeare’s play raises not just questions of antiquated gender dynamics but also acts as an affectionate caricature of a highly dysfunctional family.