Jobsite brings back the Bard in pure form with their modern-dress commedia dell’arte inspired, zippy cutting of Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes comedy.
Perhaps one of Shakespeare’s best-known and most-debated plays, The Taming of the Shrew centers on Katharina, a woman claimed to be of ill-temper who meets her match in Petruchio, who for the right price will take on any challenge – Kate being no exception. The play has been retooled over the years, most recently in popular culture with the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate, the film 10 Things I Hate About You and an award-winning episode of Moonlighting.
Often critiqued as mysoginistic and as glorifying domestic abuse, Jobsite Producing Artistic Director David M. Jenkins has chosen to address all of this head-on and make every attempt to offer a feminist staging of the production that stresses mutuality and equality.
“I worked on this show for the entire spring in a class as part of my PhD program,” says Jenkins. “I’m bringing a lot of that theory into practice with the way I cut the script as well as the way I plan on staging and working it. I’m not straying from the text, but finding the spaces created by silences, ambiguity, the possibilities afforded by maintaining tensions and by in some cases carrying the comedy to a grotesque degree – all of which allow us places to make commentary without using a sledgehammer. I was inspired in this direction by writings by authors like Eve Sedgwick and Judith Butler.”
Jenkins hopes that audiences at the end of the play find a Kate “not conquered, but who has found a kindred spirit along the way as Petruchio learns a lesson from his harsh treatment of her.”
Beyond the theoretical foundation underpinning the production, Jenkins’ primary hope is of course that people leave the show highly entertained.
“This script has stood the test of time for a reason – it’s very, very funny. The stock characters, the broad physical comedy, the wordplay, it’s all such great stuff. We’re also doing the show in three-quarter staging, so the audience will more so than usual really be part of the action. Add to this the play-within-a-play aspect of the show, and people are really going to be surprised with the festival-like atmosphere in the Shimberg.”
Jobsite & Shakespeare
This is Jobsite’s second full-length Shakespeare production, the first being their critically acclaimed 2002 production of Titus Andronicus. Jobsite is hardly a stranger though to the Bard.
One of the company’s all-time most successful productions is their oft-reprised crowd pleaser The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).
Joe Popp, Shawn Paonessa and Neil Gobioff recently teamed up to reinvent Pericles as a mafioso-laden rock musical, prompting Jobsite’s first appearance Off Broadway at HERE Arts Center.
With $20,000 from two local foundations, the theater can expand its educational outreach.
- David M. Jenkins – Director
- Krystalle Voecks – Stage Manager
- Katie Castonguay – Bianca / Grumio
- Jason Evans – Gremio / Pedant / Vincentio
- Jon Gennari – Lucentio
- Amy E. Gray – Biondello / Curtis / Widow
- Tia Jemison – Tranio / Messenger
- Michael C. McGreevy – Baptista
- Spencer Meyers – Hortensio / Vincentio
- Shawn Paonessa – Petruchio
- Katrina Stevenson – Kate
- Summer Bohnenkamp – Costume Designer
- Bridgette Dreher – Scenic Artist
- Alexandra Gonzalez – Props Master and Run Crew
- Greg Newcomb – Poster Artist
- Brian M. Smallheer – Scenic and Lighting Designer
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