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On stage at Goodrich High School: 'Taming of the Shrew'

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November 13, 2013 - Goodrich- "There's small choice in rotten apples."

The wit of William Shakespeare will come to life next week at Goodrich High School.

Written in the early 1590s, Shakespeare's comedy "Taming of the Shew," on stage next week, depicts the courtship of gentleman Petruchio and Katherina, the headstrong, stubborn "shrew." At first, Katherina wants no part of the relationship, however, Petruchio soften her with a variety of psychological torments—thus "taming"—until she becomes an obedient bride. The subplot features a competition between the suitors, Lucentio, Gremio and Hortensio for Katherina's more desirable sister, Bianca. The fortune seeking Petruchio is persuaded into the courtship of Katherina by the Bianca suitors. The mother of both girls insists Bianca cannot marry until the less than desirable Katherina is wed first.

The plot becomes more complex when Petruchio, who was not planning on falling for Katherina, does. Similarly, Katherina was not expecting a man to actually love her for who she is.

"The play is relevant today for a variety of reasons," said Mitchell. "'The Taming of the Shew' deals with love, relationships—with men and women. It deals with a variety of personalities and many types of women—some very strong-willed. Other women in the play are seen, not heard—more passive."

The play has been criticized and analyzed over the years from feminists and those that call the play simply a farce—taking nothing at face value.

"There's two ways to look at the play," said Mitchell. "We are interpreting the play as the realization he loves her the way she is. He goes into it for the money, but when he gets to know her better he ends up loving her."

"The play's significance is, 'be who you are,'" he added. "Don't worry what others think—you're OK as you are. That's what I see in this play."

Mitchell transforms the Renaissance era play into the classic 1930s Hollywood—pre-television times.

"It won't be in the 1500s, rather in an era when it's easier for audiences today to understand and relate to," he added. "We also keep the number of props at a minimum. Like the Shakespeare plays where lighting was the sun, a tree was denoted as a branch—it's all about the actors in the play, that's the focus."

The play with a cast of 15 will also be "in the round"—similar to performances in Shakespeare's Globe Theater. Mitchell uses three sets of bleachers, along with about 140 seats on stage.

"Seating is limited to about 280," he added. "It's still the old English—it's as original as it comes with Shakespeare."

Mitchell was assisted by co-director Lindsay Duso.

"Lindsay has been a pleasure to work with," he said. "Her abilities and knowledge have added to this production."

"Taming of the Shew," Goodrich High School, Raymond C. Green Auditorium, 7500 Gale Road, Goodrich, Nov 21-24. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, 2:30 p.m. Tickets, $8.

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