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Livermore Shakespeare Festival 2013
by Peggy Riley, Dramaturge
Our program this summer will be a delightful one, combining a Shakespearean comedy and a French farce: Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and The Liar, David Ives’s “translaptation” of Pierre Corneille’s 17th Century play.
Director Gary Argmagnac is setting Shrew in 1945, just after the war. The lives of both men and women had changed drastically – and some of these changes played themselves out in the so-called “battle of the sexes”; familiar pre-war roles were replaced by challenges to male authority and to the traditional concepts of female roles. The scene is set for Kate and Petruchio to negotiate their own kind of peace.
(Please note, if you are reading the play in advance, that “The Induction” will be cut for our production.)
Meanwhile, in a 21st Century take on a 17th Century plot, The Liar tells the tale of a young man who lies about returning from war (among other things) in order to make his mark and to enjoy the “high society” and “celebrated ladies” of Paris. Lisa Tromovitch directs the hilarious ruckus.
The Folger Shakespeare Library ‘s brief study guide (http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=4126) includes a synopsis and explores some ideas relevant to the play.
The Hudson Shakespeare Company’s site on Shrew includes some interesting commentary as well as a scene-by-scene synopsis and a character directory. (http://hudsonshakespeare.org/Shakespeare%20Library/Commentaries/comm_taming_of_the_shrew.htm).
The Charles and Mary Lamb version for young people, from Tales from Shakespeare, is available at http://www.eldritchpress.org/cml/tfstaming.html.
You can check out some post-WWII historical and social background at http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade40.html, and general domestic issues at
The PBS American Experience series has a fascinating site at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/tupperware-plastics/. You’ll learn all about that post-war phenomenon, Tupperware, as well as women’s issues of the era.
The Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara prepared a beautifully arranged guide to The Liar, complete with illustrations, a synopsis, background on 17th Century France, and commentary by David Ives among other interesting observations: http://www.ensembletheatre.com/docs/THE-LIAR-guide.pdf.
Robert Siegel interviews David Ives about what Ives calls his “translaptation,” his English adaptation that not only translates Corneille’s play, but adds modern concepts: a transcript from NPR’s All Things Considered: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126143917.
And for a quick overview of the play see this review from the Valley Advocate, a newspaper in Massachusetts: http://www.valleyadvocate.com/article_print.cfm?aid=16309.
Inspired by Artistic Director Lisa Tromovitch, Livermore Shakespeare Festival actors and directors work from acting scripts developed by Neil Freeman directly from The First Folio, the earliest (1623) published collection of Shakespeare’s plays. We will use the Applause First Folio Edition of The Taming of the Shrew, prepared and annotated by Neil Freeman, as our text this summer.
Modern editions of Shakespeare’s plays are readily available. The Folger Library edition of Shrew is available as a digital text at http://www.folgerdigitaltexts.org/?chapter=5&play=Shr&loc=p7; the digital text uses the same page numbers and layouts as in the Folger print editions, so it’s simple to use the two together, and includes coding for searching.
The Arden edition includes extensive scholarly commentary and notes.
The Shakespeare Pro app for the iPhone and iPad includes the complete works, glossary, concordance, Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (for young people), AND First Folio versions of the plays (all for $9.99 – there’s also a smaller free version). The apps available for the Android are not nearly as comprehensive. There is a huge variety of apps available from both, including complete texts of the plays.
The text for The Liar is available from Dramatists Play Service and from Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Rediscovery Series.
Films based on Shrew:
The Taming of the Shrew (1967, FAI and Columbia Pictures). Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Cast includes Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999, Mad Chance/Jaret Entertainment Production and Touchstone Pictures). Directed by Gil Junger. Cast includes Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Allison Janney.
Kiss Me, Kate (1953, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). Directed by George Sidney. Cast includes Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, and Ann Miller. Based on the stage musical inspired by The Taming of the Shrew.
Our LSF 13 summer productions promise lots of laughs. Come on out to Concannon and join us for our summer of comedy.