THE TAMING OF THE SHREW – Written by William Shakespeare; Directed by Caitlin Lowans. Produced by Theatreworks (Presented at the Lawn or Dusty Loo Theatre at the Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs) through July 30. Tickets available at 719-255-8181 or email@example.com.
Those folk down at the Ent Center know how to do a summer show. They have an outside playing space on the front lawn of the building AND an indoor space they can easily move into should the weather suddenly become inclement. Additionally, there is a small outdoor amphitheatre just across the highway that features Friday night concerts. So they routinely move inside on Friday nights to avoid the conflicting noise. Very smart of them.
In a show that usually has a cast of 22, this cast of 6 women and 2 men take on a madcap whirlwind of changing costumes and characters in the blink of an eye. Ian Michael Minh and Colton Pratt take on the all-important roles of Kate and Bianco, respectively, with Colton jumping in on a couple of minor roles as well. Which leaves five women to carry the weight of most of the men’s roles. Annie Barbour has become a cocky and confident Petruchia. As you can tell by the role assignments and slight changes of names from the masculine to the feminine, this is a production that looks at clouds from both sides now, giving genders a playful pinch on the rear.
It took a while to bend my mind around what was being done and hearing the familiar lines coming out of the mouths of the opposite gender. But like all things foreign, when you stick with it, it begins to get easier. The women became bold and unapologetic using the words of men. The men had a little more difficulty getting the under-the-male-thumb traditional attitudes to work. However, by the time Kate got to the “why women should obey their men” speech, his gentle rendering gave the sentiments a whole new meaning.
The abbreviated cast meant the combining of some parts and the exclusion of others, along with the scenes in which they would have been present. However, the female cast tackled all the roles thrust upon them in this version with vigor and enthusiasm. Annie Barbour made a forceful Petruchia and led her band of friends and servants on a merry romp. Birgitta De Pree, Rachel Fey, Iliana Lucero Barron, Cheerish Martin and Adrienne Martin-Fullwood completed the ensemble of quick-change artists.
I am increasingly pleased with the productions of TheatreWorks, a company within the Theatre Department of the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. They provide an opportunity for students to work alongside professional actors from the Springs and Denver area to the advantage of both. The theatrical product, the skill exhibited in the production values, and the care of visiting actors shows in the quality of work presented.
Not to rest of their laurels, their next production of STEEL MAGNOLIAS takes place in a Black beauty parlor in Louisiana and promises an equally fresh take on another familiar script.
A WOW factor of 8!