Shakespeare’s wild comedy unleashed at CHS

Bored with plodding through pages of dense literature night after night? Daunted by Shakespeare? The CHS production of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy “The Taming of the Shrew” is here to help. The Carmel Repertory Acting Players bring Shakespeare’s most outrageous play to life this weekend, premiering Friday in the CHS Center for the Performing Arts.

The play focuses on Kate, a “shrewishly” headstrong woman seen as unmarriageable and thus a burden to her family, and Petruchio, the man who takes on the challenge of “taming” her. A raucous battle of wits follows as they tease and playfully banter with each other.

Essentially, Petruchio “whips me into shape and makes me subordinate…by basically being as mean to me as I am to other people,” explains senior Claire Moorer, who is starring as Kate.

Avery Yeatman surrounded by her suitors, from left to right, Richard Avelino, Nathanael Hayes, Gunnar Cumming, and Hans Voegeli.

Avery Yeatman surrounded by her suitors, from left to right, Richard Avelino, Nathanael Hayes, Gunnar Cumming, and Hans Voegeli.

While last year’s Shakespeare show, “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” directed by CHS graduate Roxanne Cheysson, was set in the rock ‘n’ roll ‘50s with charming music accordingly, this year’s production, directed by both Cheysson and drama teacher Michael Jacobs, takes a different approach.

“The Taming of the Shrew” stands alone, with its hilarious characters and physical comedy. Its timeless story speaks for itself, and their concept this year is to simply tell it the way Shakespeare wrote it, without changing the setting or bothering with a concept.

For Jacobs, what makes “The Taming of the Shrew” interesting is its outrageous characters, whom he loves to watch being brought to life by the talented cast, which also features seniors Avery Yeatman and Cameron Poletti as Kate’s sister Bianca and Petruchio, respectively.

According to Poletti, it’s assuredly a fun show.

“Some of the scenes with me and my sidekick character, played by T.J. Sullinger, are so much fun,” Poletti says.” We just get to … go wild and just goof around. It’s pretty awesome.”

Poletti’s enthusiasm is living proof that Shakespeare is not a dying art. In Jacobs’ words, “It’s getting stronger and stronger, and more and more companies are doing it, and the more you see it the more you’ll appreciate it because he writes about real people.”

“Technology has changed, the way we utilize technology has changed, the way we live our lives has changed, but people have not. We still have the same emotions we had 400 years ago, 2,000 years ago, 10,000 years ago. Human beings are human beings….Don’t be intimidated by Shakespeare. Come and see this play and you will understand it,” Jacobs exclaims. “You will laugh. You will enjoy it.”

“The Taming of the Shrew” opens tonight at 7 p.m. and plays through this weekend at 7 p.m. on Saturday and at a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. Seats for this wild romp are only $6 a ticket, and the show is open for all the public to enjoy.
-Michael Montgomery