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The Taming of the Shrew

Girls will be girls – and boys

What: The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

Who: Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe

Where: Muritai School Yard, Eastbourne (outside – but moves into adjacent
school hall if poor weather)

When: 7.30 p.m. Tuesday 17 to Saturday 21 February

Tickets: $15, $12 (concessions) & $10 (Fringe Addict)
Dymocks Bookseller, Lambton Quay
Rona Gallery, Eastbourne
Door sales
Booking line: 0832 77790

In what is thought to be a New Zealand first, this open-air production of a favourite Shakespeare comedy features an all-female cast.

“A woman’s perspective on the wooing and marriage of the two very different Baptista sisters is going to get people thinking” director John Marwick says, “and it also makes for even more comedy."

The play is about relationships, the strange and sometimes odd business of what leads people to marry, and what comes next. It’s also about bullies and fools – and men (and women) behaving badly.

Katherina Baptista has been unmarried for years – and with her nasty temper and sharp tongue she looks set to stay that way. By contrast butter wouldn’t melt in her sister Bianca’s mouth. Men old and young are falling over themselves to get her rich father’s blessing on a marriage. The challenge these suitors face is to find Kate a husband since daddy says he won’t allow Bianca to marry until her sister is wed.

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Enter two handsome strangers. Lucentio, a hopeless romantic, knows at first sight of Bianca that he cannot live without her. Petruchio, by contrast, has come to town to find a rich wife – and, since he’s not choosy, Kate seems a perfect match.

In Shakespeare’s day Petruchio’s ways of wooing then ‘taming’ ‘Kate the curst’ may have been acceptable but it’s a problem for modern audiences to see a strong-willed woman apparently forced into becoming a submissive wife. “I’ve got quite a few strong-willed women who have ideas about that” Marwick says, “and audiences are going to get a fresh perspective."

The play also brings out the comedy in Bianca’s wooing – and show how easily a pretty girl can make grown men appear foolish.

Add to this music, energy and a strong, ensemble cast and you have the makings of another great Bard in the Yard production. Come along for a fresh look at this popular show and a great night out.

This production is also one of the first of the plays in this year’s Compleate Workes project – an attempt by Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand to get all of the Bard’s works performed in 2009.


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