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The Lycoming College Theatre Department will present the final production of its 2010-11 season, William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," at the Mary L. Welch Theatre April 8-9, 13-14 and 16 at 8 p.m.
"Shrew" is one of Shakespeare's earliest, most familiar and most farcical comedies. The play centers on the cantankerous Kate, whose feisty reputation has scared off every potential husband for miles around. Sparks fly when Petruchio, a suitor like no other, arrives.
Play-goers to Lycoming's production, directed by Dr. N.J. Stanley, assistant professor of theatre, should expect a few twists on the classic tale. The entire cast has been cross-gendered, with men playing the women's roles and women playing the men's roles.
"Contemporary critics often consider the play both misogynistic and patriarchal, because superficially it advocates male dominance and female submission," says Stanley. "However, I believe the play also supports other interpretations that speak positively about the power of love and equality between men and women."
Instead of the traditional setting, Lycoming's production will take place in a modern rehearsal for "The Taming of the Shrew" performed by a contemporary acting troupe.
"The play-within-a-play setting allows for many layers of humor," says Stanley. "It also allows the audience to see backstage action that is usually hidden from view, such as costume changes and actors getting their props."
Stanley hopes the production twists will reinvigorate the play's vital theme about the value of recognizing and celebrating one's authentic self.
The 15-member cast includes junior theatre major Kevin Milliard as Kate and sophomore psychology major Alyssa Allen as Petruchio.
Area students appearing in the production are Krista Peterson of Dewart, Carissa Sampsell of Mifflinburg and Jesse Shade of Woolrich.
Lycoming's "Shrew" also features Williamsport resident Kathleen Houser. A favorite local performer with the Actors' Group and Community Theatre League, she portrays Baptista, Kate's father.
Additional cast members include Victoria Bortniak, Molly Collier, A.J. Fenske, Steve Ferguson, Christina Moliterno, Kahla Moon, Andrea Moore, Victoria Parker, and Cindy Pyott.
"Dinner and a Show" is scheduled for Saturday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the Jane Shultz Room, Wertz Student Center. Please note the change from the traditional Friday event. The meal includes salad and rolls, roast chicken with pancetta and olives, and cannoli cake. Tickets are $17 and advanced reservations are required.
Tickets for the play are $10 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors. For reservations, contact the Mary L. Welch Theatre Box Office at 570-321-4048.
Lycoming College is a national liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. It is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1812 in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation.