A Shakespearean play set in the Wild West could be considered a bit unconventional, and will put a modern twist on an old classic. The Taming of The Shrew, an original comedy by famed playwright William Shakespeare originally set in Italy, is re-imagined on the mountainous plains of Wyoming. The free production will open to the public at 7 p.m. Friday. Additional show dates are: 7 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. Aug. 5; and 7 p.m. Aug. 6.
Shows are located on Ivy Tech’s Peru Campus, 425 W. Main St., Peru.
“We don’t change Shakespeare’s words; we just change who says them or how they are said. But in doing so, we do make this a love story,” according to an excerpt from directors, Pat Piper and Tammy Hileman, in the official show program.
Katherina, the female lead, is depicted as aggressive and outspoken, virtually untamable. That is, until the male lead, Petruchio, takes her on with the intention of “taming” her, get it? Many modern critics of the play have noted its misogynistic undertones, and although a comedy, Piper and Hileman wanted to explore this story in a more “progressive” way.
In the adaptation, Katherina’s strong-mindedness and independence is embraced.
“The things that he wrote about at that time were different than the things that are here,” Piper said. “The feelings of men toward women … everything was different back then.”
Piper added this story shows a woman who did not need to be tamed, but rather just loved. In the 400th year after William Shakespeare’s death, both directors hope he would be proud of how his work has continued to live on in many forms.
“I really hope people will come see it,” Piper said. “Even if they aren’t a Shakespeare aficionado. It doesn’t matter. It’s live theater, and live theater is extremely important in our culture. And It’s free, so all they have to do is give the time to come.”
The play features 16 student-actors from the area, along with adapted music from the film of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate,” rearranged by Ivy Tech student Aaron Birnell.
“The knowledge that it brings to Peru … there are people that wouldn’t necessarily seek (this play) out,” Hileman said. “I feel like we’re culturally enriching a community with our little act.”
The production is presented by Ole Olsen Children’s Theatre at Ivy Tech Community College.