OTTUMWA-What happens when the wealthy father of two daughters won’t let the beautiful and sweet younger sister marry until the older and more volatile sister is settled in matrimonial bliss, and the older sister wants no part of any potential suitors? Find out in Indian Hills Community College’s production of The Taming of the Shrew on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Apr. 19-21, at 7:30 p.m. in St. John Auditorium on the Ottumwa campus. Admission is free but patrons are encouraged to reserve seats by calling 641-683-5144 Monday-Thursday.
“This is one of Shakespeare’s most enduring and beloved comedies,” says director Jennifer Boyenga, “with a great deal of slapstick comedy and witty dialogue.”
Co-director Ray Slavens adds, “A lot of people hear the name Shakespeare and feel intimidated, but it is important to remember that Shakespeare was writing for an audience that was drawn from all levels of society, from Queen Elizabeth I to the illiterate working class men and women who stood around the edge of the stage during performances.”
The classic story begins when the wealthy Baptista Minola (played by Bianca Cardona of Keota) vows that his younger daughter Bianca (Cecilia Mitchell, Grinnell) cannot marry until her unpleasant older sister Katherina (Brittanee Leege, Ottumwa) finds a husband. As a result, the race is on to get Katherina married off so that Bianca’s many suitors can compete for her affection.
The solution to the problem soon arrives in Padua in the form of Petruchio (Steve Nash, Springfield, Missouri) who wants a rich wife who will add to his fortune, regardless of how unpleasant she is. Katherina meets her match in Petruchio, but in the end, who tames who, and who is the shrew?
Bianca, in the meantime, is pursued by several eager gentlemen who are attracted by her beauty and sweet disposition. The two leading contenders for her love are Hortensio (Christopher Caldwell, Ottumwa), who poses as a music instructor to gain access to Bianca, and Gremio (Savannah Ford, Ottumwa), Baptista’s elderly neighbor. Thrown into this mix is Lucentio (Demitrius Mitchell, Harvey, Illinois), who has arrived from Florence and fallen in love with Bianca at first sight. To gain access to Bianca, Lucentio, who has admired her from afar, poses as a teacher so that he can woo her while the other suitors aren’t looking. To do this, Lucentio exchanges identities with his trusty servant Tranio (Hannah Haring, Cambria). Hilarity ensues as Lucentio’s father, Vincentio (Peyton Nelson, Ottumwa), arrives to find a pedant (Nathan Leege, Ottumwa) usurping his identity and his son’s servants pretending they don’t know him.
Rounding out the cast are Lucentio’s servant Biondello (Ashley Gorrell, Danville), Petruchio’s grumpy old servant Grumio (Mikala Roberts, Ottumwa), a rich widow (Erin McElderry, Ottumwa), the drunken Christopher Sly (Taith May, Albia), and additional servants (Railee Ellison, Bloomfield and Kelly Chapman, Milo).
The stage manager for the show is Jaime Wright of Plymouth, Illinois. Abby Ragen of Kirkville will be running the sound, while Bryan Brain of Pekin will be running lights. Olivia Anders and Bailey Mitchell, both from Ottumwa, will be working on costumes and makeup.