Auditions & Downloads

Our Signature Shakespeare Production will be The Shrew, our spin on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, adapted and to be directed by Gordon Mills, who directed last year’s Merchant.

Auditions for this production took place on Saturday, July 20th, 2013, starting at 10:00 a.m., at The Hub, East Bay Street & Colebrooke Lane.

Below you will find a synopsis of the play followed by links to the audition pieces for the characters.

Audition pieces

Synopsis

The play is farcical comedy with some serious and controversial husband-wife, parent-daughter issues.  It uses disguise, slapstick, wordplay and irony to achieve its effects.

Plot outline

In Padua, wealthy Lady Baptista Minola has two daughters. The elder, Katharina, is aggressive, rude and difficult to please. The younger, Bianca, is sweet and obedient, and attracts suitors as quickly as Katharina drives hers away. Much to Bianca’s suitors’ dismay, Lady Baptista has pledged not to let her younger daughter marry until Katharina has married which leads Bianca’s suitors to search for someone foolhardy or arrogant enough to try to tame Katharina, and also to look for tutors for Bianca – Lady Baptista wants her educated in the classics, mathematics and music.

Two of Bianca’s suitors, Hortensio and Gremio, live in the town while a third, Lucentio, has arrived from Pisa with his servant, Tranio, and falls head over heels in love with Bianca the moment he sees her. An intricate web of deception and disguise follows as Tranio impersonates his master Lucentio so that the latter can disguise himself as a Latin tutor, Cambio, so that he can secretly court Bianca. Hortensio, meanwhile, finds his old friend Petruchio who decides to chance his fortunes with Katharina and Hortensio disguises himself as a music teacher, Litio, for Bianca with the same ulterior motive as Lucentio.

Petruchio succeeds in marrying Katharina and proceeds to take her to his house with his servant Grumio, to “tame” her while Hortensio and Lucentio battle it out for Bianca’s favours. Meanwhile, Tranio as Lucentio, ingratiates himself into Lady Baptista’s good books and succeeds in winning the younger daughter over the other, older and undisguised suitor, Gremio. It is clear that Bianca loves the real Lucentio so with Tranio’s help they find a stand-in father for Lucentio to give his blessing for the marriage and plan to secretly wed before the official wedding. All is going well till Lucentio’s real father appears to cause the ultimate confusion and Petruchio returns with his tamed Katharina to shock all and sundry.

The farcical penultimate scene is followed by the happy ending with the real Lucentio marrying Bianca.

The play has caused a lot of controversy over the years because of the taming methods used by Petruchio on Katharina which many see as unconscionable abuse and for the final speech of Katharina’s which is contrary to any sort of equality in marriage and seems to relegate women to mere possessions. This production will not focus on these aspects but will highlight the farcical comedic aspects of the play and let the actors and audience members make up their own minds about the message.

Characters

Lady Baptista Minola – mother of Katharina and Bianca; icy, aloof and money grabbing.

Katharina – Lady Baptista’s older daughter who suffers as the unfavoured child of her mother and reacts by being unpleasant and aggressive. Quick witted and intelligent.

Bianca – Lady Baptista’s favourite; spoilt and apparently sweet and conciliatory.

Lucentio – idly wealthy and intelligent with personal servants; falls hopelessly in love with Bianca at first glance.

Tranio – servant to Lucentio who agrees to impersonate his master so Lucentio can pursue Bianca; resourceful and witty.

Gremio – older man, wealthy, suitor to Bianca; appears in many scenes and is a sort of chorus figure

Hortensio – another of Bianca’s suitors; something of a fool; switches affections immediately he sees Bianca loves another.

Petruchio – arrives seeking a wife and goes after Katharina as a sporting challenge; rough and arrogant, stubborn and witty.

Grumio – Petruchio’s servant; put upon, hard done by but loyal and witty. (Could be played by a female)

Merchant – is duped into pretending to be Lucentio’s father but is resourceful and contributes mightily to the farcical elements in the closing scenes.

Vincentio – Lucentio’s father; another who contributes significantly to the farcical elements at the play’s conclusion.

Biondello – another of Lucentio’s servants; a small part. (Could be played by a female.)

Widow – marries Hortensio after he is rejected by Bianca; a small part.

Audition Pieces

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