By Chris Ramirez
To tame or not to tame…that is the question.
The FringeNYC production of The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare features two lovely women who live in the town of Padua with their very rich father, Senor Baptista. The older daughter, Katherine, is a mean, angry and violent girl; while the younger one, Bianca, is beautiful, sweet and gentle. When suitors come to request Bianca's hand in marriage, her father declares that before anyone can marry Bianca, Katherine must first be married. Thus…enter Petruchio, a man who tries to tame Katherine while his friend Lucentio woos young Bianca.
The set for this play was brilliant. It was quite simple with four big lawn chairs that doubled for many other things. The sound design was energetic and lively during scene changes with songs that ranged from artists like Pink to Michael Buble, garnering the attention of the audience throughout the play. The lighting was sparse yet effective, although some actors were unlit during scenes.
There were many great performances I truly enjoyed Henry Dwyer, who had great enthusiasm in his role of Petruchio and Violeta Picayo, complete with crazy moments of hitting and screaming in the guise of Katherine. Some of the other actors were hard to understand at times, particularly one who was trying to speed through his lines, creating a difficult time for the audience.
The theatre was quite hot (as always during the Fringe), but I was amazed at how the actors performed with bright lights and exotic costumes…it was a sauna for them to say the least. I am very glad I went to see this performance of The Taming of the Shrew as I am a huge fan of Shakespeare and I highly recommend this play to teenagers and families.