“Lord, what fools these mortals be.” – William Shakespeare
Tonight, I’ll be performing in a production called “The Blaming of the Shrew”. It’s an adaptation of Shakespeare’s work. Our director says, “This adaptation, a conflation of the two distinct extant texts of this play, The Taming of the Shrew and The Taming of a Shrew, intends to explore the social and dramatic tension of the idea that this story is ostensibly a comedic one. We hope that this adaptation will spark conversations about patriarchal control (which is, at its core, what restricting abortion access is all about), as well as the prevalence of misogynistic humor in the stories that our society continues to tell.” Proceeds from the ticket donations will go to support women’s reproductive rights.
My character, Grumio, is a servant to Petrucchio, the man who “comes to wive it wealthily” by marrying Katharina and taming her independent nature. Grumio is a kind of comic narrator, but he is also a “Bro” who creeps on Katharina and contributes to breaking her with abuse. I get to deliver a lot of sexual double entendres around lutes and meat and mustard. I do have great fun clowning around in my foolish old man identity for laughs, but I am moved to tears when our lead actor implodes and becomes a shell of herself. It has been interesting hearing audience reaction and noting how poorly the text has stood up over time as a comedy. There are content warnings posted prominently in all our publicity.
Here are some production photos of my character…obviously I didn’t take them. They were taken by our director, Rachel Kohler.
It’s tricky to be an evolving and compassionate human being. Our species has been working on that for a long, long time with mixed results. For my part, I intend to keep on trying and supporting others in their journey to be a little less foolish each day. Thanks, Donna, for your April opening challenge!