Preview-The Taming of the Shrew-Shakespeare in the Port


By: Dan Wilson

A cast of local actors have come together to perform Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew for Hong Kong’s inaugural Shakespeare outdoor festival ‘Shakespeare in the Port’. The famous comedy is one that has had many adaptations (including much loved Hollywood teen flick 10 Things I Hate About You) but is also a play that’s met with plenty of controversy over the years, mainly due to the fact that by today’s standards it appears to be terribly chauvinistic.


Beautiful Bianca, the daughter of Baptista Minola, is the object of affection for many.. Minola, however, won’t have any man take his Bianca’s hand in marriage until his oldest daughter, shrew-like Katherina, is wed first. Difficulties ensue when it becomes apparent that Katherina’s spiky personality makes her abhorrent company to the opposite sex.


Enter swanky salesman Petruchio, who is the only man to accept the challenge and ‘tame the shrew’.


The plot alone could make for uneasy watching but, as director Jonathan Brantley explains, this situation is not something that belongs in the middle ages; women are forced into unwanted relationships in many cultures around the world to this day.


Brantley goes on to explain his belief that the play is not inherently sexist and, in actual fact, satirises sexist attitudes. It’s this, along with how Katherina deals with her sorry lot, which makes this play the endearing and enduring comedy that it is.


Needless to say, love conquers all eventually.

Billed as a production suitable for anyone between the ages of 5 and 105, a well balanced emphasis by the actors on physical comedy means even the youngest of children will enjoy the show as well as adults. The play has also been condensed to 80 minutes. Brantley promises the result is a lean, plot-driven version, accessible to anyone new to Shakespeare’s work without sacrificing the enjoyment of people more familiar with it.


Parents and children should be delighted with the prat in this production of Taming of the Shrew. Cast members Emma O'Rourke and Daniel Garcia are very fast paced and light on their feet. Bilingual narration has been provided to help audience members who are ESL speakers understand the story. Free educa"fun" packets are available for download now via the Hong Kong Shakes website. They include worksheets to help make the play a more educational experience and some fun activities for kids.

The Taming of the Shrew opens this Thursday, April 17th at 7:30pm. Show dates for the 7:30pm shows are 4/17, 4/19, 4/25, 4/26, 4/29, 5/2, 5/3. Show dates for the 3pm matinees are 4/20, 4/27, 5/4. April 20th's matinee should be a delight as it's coordinated with an Easter celebration starting at 1pm which includes a visit from the Eastebunny, an Easter Egg Hunt and games for all.


Tickets for the festival can be purchased online via Ticketflap or at the door with cash. They are 150HKD for a weekday pass or 300HKD for a weekend pass. There is a 50HKD dollar increase when buying tickets at the door. You can find out more information about the festival and how to reach Cyberport via the festival website. You can also connect in with the festival through its facebook page.


For more information about Shakespeare in the Port, click here.


*Photo credit: Aaron Michelson


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