Animal actors charm ‘Shrew’

Posted Nov. 19, 2008, at 5:41 p.m.

WINTERPORT, Maine — Winterport Open Stage will present the adaptation of “The Taming of the Shrew” by Steven Fogell, based on the work by William Shakespeare, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 22-23, at Wagner Middle School Auditorium, Mountainview Drive.

What do animals and Shakespeare have in common? Quite a lot in the Winterport Open Stage production.

“Having adult actors perform Shakespeare as animal characters is hilarious and clever,” said director Jeri Misler. “It’s one of the main reasons I was attracted to this play.”

The play centers on a troupe of animal actors getting set to perform “The Taming of the Shrew” for King Louie, a lion, and Queen Marie, a lioness. As the stage story of “Shrew” unfolds, we see how the actors resemble the characters they portray. The backstage antics of the traveling troupe add to the mayhem and comedy. The play shares Shakespeare’s language and backstage humor to create a delightful production.

“Anyone familiar with ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ will find this version to have a different twist,” said Misler. “The queen interrupts the play, demanding to speak to the playwright about the character of Kate, who eventually submits to her husband.”

Without giving away the ending, Misler added, “Traditionally, the ending of the original ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ is criticized as being chauvinistic. What I love about this version’s ending is that it confronts, even objects to, the original ending and broadens its appeal.”

“I’ve wanted to do children’s theater in this area since I moved to Winterport four years ago” said Misler.

“Exposing children to theater, especially Shakespeare, at a young age, allows them to get an early grasp of Old English. This adaptation has plenty of physical comedy and action to engage the children with the witty sophistication of Shakespeare’s text for adults,” Misler said.

The cast of “The Taming of the Shrew” stars Stephen Estey of Newburgh as Petruchio, Jenny Hart of Orrington as Kate the Shrew and Katy England of Dedham as Bianca. Other cast members are Anne Tatgenhorst, Jim Tatgenhorst, Tim Baude, Martha MacLeod, Jason Weber, Zach Hardy and Erin L’Hereux.

Tickets are $6, $3 seniors and students at the door. A family rate of $15 is available for families of four. For information, call Jeri Misler at 223-0917 or visit WinterportOpenStage.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/11/19/news/bangor/animal-actors-charm-lsquoshrewrsquo/ printed on July 30, 2014