(LENOX, Mass.) – “The Taming,” a politically charged comedy written by award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson, gets its regional premiere at Shakespeare & Company beginning Friday, May 27, and running through July 30, 2016. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, the 90-minute play, inspired by Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” exposes America’s overheated political rhetoric through the passions of three slightly insane women who just might be revolutionary geniuses.
Inside the heightened, cheerfully absurd world of the red-state vs. blue-state comedy “The Taming,” playwright Gunderson spanks America’s sound-bite politics, wrestles with a Shakespeare-inspired, playful and problematic battle of the sexes, and proves the point that true debate is hot.
“The Taming” is the third work in Gunderson’s Shakespeare cycle, in which new works are inspired by Shakespeare originals. Others include “Toil & Trouble” inspired by “Macbeth” and “We Are Denmark,” loosely based on “Hamlet.”
Super-patriot Miss Georgia has something bigger in mind for the Miss America pageant than winning a crown. She wants to jump-start a movement to rewrite the Constitution. So she’s locked herself in a hotel room with two captive political opposites and the ensuing conflict plays out in hilarious fashion, complete with a screwball chase scene, underwear gags, and slyly developing sexual attractions.
“This play is powerful, funny, clever — written for Seattle’s Crowded Fire Theatre in 2013, Ms. Gunderson’s play seems even more timely now,” says director Nicole Ricciardi. “The playwright believes it is the perfect time to laugh at the many imperfections of our two-party system: ‘There’s great power in farce to disarm people and bring them together.’ I tend to agree, as I am reminded of the old adage, it’s only funny because it’s true.”
Ricciardi’s production of “The Taming” features three Shakespeare & Company newcomers: Maddie Jo Landers, Tangela Large and Lucy Lavely. The creative team includes veteran company artists John McDermott (Set Design), James Bilnoski (Lighting Design), Amy Altadonna (Sound Design) and Esther Van Eek (Costume Design).
Lauren Gunderson is a playwright, screenwriter and short story author from Atlanta, Ga. She received her BA in English/Creative Writing at Emory University, and her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch, where she was also a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.
She was named on of the most produced playwrights in America by American Theatre Magazine in 2015, was awarded the 2016 Lanford Wilson Award from the Dramatist Guild, and was awarded the prestigious 2014 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for her play, I and You (also a Susan Smith Blackburn Blackburn and John Gassner Award finalist). That play was an NNPN Rolling World Premiere that started at Marin Theatre Company and has seen over 40 productions nationwide. She is also a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Company.
Tickets for “The Taming” are available online at Shakespeare & Company, or by calling Shakespeare & Company at (413) 637-3353 during box office hours. The Bernstein Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible including added enhancements this year. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, Massachusetts.