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John Kinzer
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Indiana Festival Theatre's modernized 'Taming of the Shrew' set in Sunshine State

WHAT: "The Taming of the Shrew," by William Shakespeare, directed by Jonathan Michaelsen.
WHEN: Special discounted preview 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 5. Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 6, with additional performances through July 28. For specific dates and times, visit the Department of Theatre and Drama website.
WHERE: All performances take place at the Wells-Metz Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center at 275 N. Jordan Ave. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted during performances.
TICKETS: Tickets available at the IU Auditorium Box Office or online. Regular admission is $25 for adults and $15 for any student and those 18 and younger. A voucher for four tickets is available from $48 to $75. Call 812-855-1103 for group rates.

June 26, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "The Taming of the Shrew" will be presented in repertory by the Indiana Festival Theatre, with a special preview performance opening in the Wells-Metz Theatre on July 5.

The Taming of the Shrew

IU alumnus Rob Johansen takes the role of Gremio in Indiana Festival Theatre's production of "The Taming of the Shrew," shown here alongside second-year MFA acting student Andrea Mellos as Bianca.

Print-Quality Photo

Like last summer's "The Comedy of Errors," Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" employs many elements of farce: disguises, mistaken identities and broad physical humor. The play was the basis for Cole Porter's successful 1949 musical, "Kiss Me, Kate."

The central love story features Katherina, a strong-willed, spirited young woman who treats suitors, her sister and her family forcefully and harshly. She is courted by Petruchio, a military veteran who tells his rivals that, having lived through war, he is not afraid of a mere woman's harsh tongue.

Their courtship is spirited, their wedding ceremony is a disaster and the honeymoon a good deal less than cordial. The "taming" of "Kate" -- which involves lively arguments, squabbles and the deprivation of food and sleep -- changes both wife and husband.

For this production of "Shrew," director Jonathan Michaelsen has brought the comedy into modern times, placing it in sunny Padua, Fla.

"I wanted a setting with good weather and sexy people," he says. "I wanted a place where there could be a party happening at almost any time -- a spring break that goes on without end."

Petruchio is played by professor Adam Noble, who teaches movement and stage combat in the Department of Theatre and Drama. He is choreographing the fights for "The Taming of the Shrew," which means he's coaching Kate -- actress and recent MFA graduate Molly Casey -- on how to beat him safely, yet with farcical, comic flair.

"This is a wonderful Shakespearean comedy, yet it has some substance and a very intriguing relationship, that of Kate and Petruchio," Michaelsen said. "We all enjoy the disguises, lovers, complications, farce and comedy, but this is also a love story, where two social rejects find a way toward love, fashioning a solid relationship with one another. It's an interesting play and makes for a great evening of theater."

Adding to the comic mayhem are Theatre and Drama voice and speech faculty member Nancy Lipschultz (Baptista); English faculty member Ray Hedin (Vincentio); guest artists Rob Johansen (Gremio); Ken Farrell (a Pedant); and Ben Abbott (Hortensio); recent MFA graduates Abby Rowold (a Widow); and Jaysen Wright (a Tailor); and students Andrea Mellos (Bianca); Nicole Bruce (Grumio); Clayton Gerrard (Curtis); Aaron Densley (Lucentio); Timothy Pyles (Tranio); Jackson Goldberg (Biondello); and Evelyn Gaynor (Servant).

The creative team includes scenic designer Tim Barbiaux; costume designer Jason Orlenko; lighting designer Lee Burckes; sound designer Colin Shay; and stage manager Olivia Ellery.

Indiana Festival Theatre's series is a highlight of the university's second annual Summer Festival of the Arts, a 113-day celebration that features visual arts, music, cinema, dance and theater on the Bloomington campus.