Bethel University presents the Shakespeare play that inspired the movie “10 Things I Hate About You”
By Mandy McRaith
Additional reporting by Beret Leone
It’s the 90’s, but we’re not talking denim jumpers and graphic T-shirt’s. Rather, the dressing room behind Bethel’s black box theatre is full of swishing long skirts, bobbing top hats and a poke-worthy mustache getting poked. The young men and women arrayed in these relics of the past, may have been born in the 90’s, but their identities tonight belong to a time long before that: the 1590’s. Shakespeare has found his way back to Bethel’s stage.
“Everyone should experience Shakespeare at some point in their life,” said actor Hank Olson. Olson plays Vincentio in the upcoming “Taming of the Shrew,” a play which promises to be entertaining for first timers and seasoned scholars alike. Framing Valentine’s day with performances on Feb. 8-10 and 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 11 and 18 at 2:30 p.m., this play provides some intriguing Shakespearean advice on what a good relationship should look like.
In short, the play is about a young woman, Kate – played by Nikole Cairns – who appears to be “shrewish” and unmanageable by her family and peers, but is wed to Petruchio – played by Cameron Blom – who promises to tame her. Blom says Petruchio is a pretty witty guy, who is quick on his feet and sees Kate as an equally so and therefore the perfect challenge. His methods for taming her, however, have led to great debate and various interpretations throughout the years.
Some might consider it an odd choice for a 21st century audience, but after exploring it in depth, director Meg Zauner reports that their seemingly imbalanced relationship may in reality not be that far from the beautiful relationships encouraged by 1 Peter 3: 1-9 and thus as relevant to people today as for the Elizabethans. Zauner says the play illustrates the importance of serving and being there for another person and therefore powering under rather than powering over. As was his custom, Shakespeare may have written the play to act as a mirror, reflecting back to his audience the nature of their own relationship practices. Comedy and humour, Zauner explains, are great for affecting change by not just making people laugh but opening them up to thinking about issues from a new perspective.
“Everyone should experience Shakespeare at some point in their life.” Sophomore Hank Olson
Indeed, while profound “The Taming of the Shrew” remains a comedy and after working hard on it throughout interim, Cairns is excited to have an audience and hear some real laughter as the play unfolds. Jesse Caldwell-Tautges, playing Gremio, one of the many suitors vying for the hand of Kate’s younger sister, Biana, promises laughter as well.
“There are a lot of unexpected things that happen and it builds on itself and gets funnier as it goes along,” said Caldwell-Tautges.
Inspiring the musical “Kiss Me Kate” and the film “10 Things I Hate about You,” Bethel students can get a free ticket for “Taming of the Shrew” when ordered online. Otherwise, tickets are $6 at the Bethel ticket office or at the theatre door for students. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors or a group of 10 or more. Zauner encourages and gives a friendly reminder to arrive before the show starts as there will be no late seating.