Presented by Theater of Others.
Director Glenn Havlan’s “Taming of the Shrew” is not your usual “Taming.” Havlan has created a most outrageous, boistrous, raucous version of Shakespeare’s comedy through costuming and staging. He has rearranged the auditorium at the Kelly Cullen Community Auditorium on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco to accommodate his free-wheeling, in your face (literally) cast of fifteen. The audience sits on folding chairs, angled off to the side on the floor where most of the action takes place, while in the Induction (Scene I), the tinker Christopher Sly (Mason Waller) and his “lady” are ensconced on a chaise lounge on the stage. The Players below are welcomed by the chiseled, stentorian-toned, Lord of the Household (Greg Gutting); his huntsmen played by Richard Gutierrez and Paul Seliga, and his Page, Zach Simon, who also plays Sly’s “lady.” Thus the play begins.
Maria Graham offered costume assistance, working with the actors to come up with inventive attire, from rag-tag to formal with matronly and cocktail somewhere in between. What is a Shakespeare’s comedy without switching or mistaking identities, gender confusion, and a long lost heir suddenly being revealed. Basically Baptista (Irving Schulman), a gentleman of Padua, must marry off his eldest daughter, Katherine, before the younger, Bianca (a sweet, comely Alaish Wren). No one wants to marry headstrong, feisty Katherine (aptly played by Nitika Nadgar). Outstanding suitors for Bianca are Hortensio. who is to prove his worth in the arts but has no talent. And Gremio- the three “Rs”; and he woos her in Latin.
Petrucio, a gentleman of Verona, is Katherine’s suitor, the only man willing to take her on. Petrucio is played by a very physical Dan Mack, whose red hair signals a well-suited temperament for the role. He appears mostly in formal dress, yet his wedding outfit comes as a delightful shock and surprise. Other “players” Are Lucentio (Edwin Jacobs), a Gentleman of Pisa, his servent, Tranio (Lijesh Krishnan); Biondella, Lucentio’s dithering secretary (an understated and subtly comic Kristin Anundsen).
As in Shakespeare’s time, the audience becomes part of the play. Half the fun is interacting with the actors when they purposely break the “fourth wall” to make you part of their act.
Final performances: Fri May 29; Sat, May 30, 8PM; Sun May 31, 2PM $10.00 or Pay what you will.
Kelly Cullen Community Auditorium
220 Golden Gate Auditorium,SF, CA
38 Geary, BART, 19 Polk.