Tamer tamed

The Taming of the Tamer was considered revolutionary in its time for portraying a woman acting independently, although this may seem tame by modern standards.

Maria (Devon Healey) pretends extravagance to upset her husband (with Rachelle Magil, Jocelyn Perry, Andrew Soutter), (photo/Jim Smagata).
Maria (Devon Healey) pretends extravagance to upset her husband (with Rachelle Magil, Jocelyn Perry, Andrew Soutter), (photo/Jim Smagata).

The story is the sequel to Shakespeares classic, The Taming of the Shrew, which is about a man named Petruchio who marries a feisty woman named Kate, and how he slowly breaks down her spirit, eventually dominating her. At the beginning of the second play, Kate has already died — presumably from arguing and fighting with Petruchio, who is now remarried to a woman named Maria.

Unfortunately for the Tamer, Maria immediately begins an escalating battle of wits and arms in order to force Petruchio to submit to her. Played by fourth-year drama students Devon Healey and Nathan Bitton, both of whom delivered outstanding performances last Friday evening, the sheer intensity and clash of wills between the two permeated every corner of the cozy Erindale Theatre. Aided by her widowed cousin Bianca, Maria launches a war against manhood in general, locking and fortifying the house before submitting a comically lengthy scroll of demands.

A parallel plot involving a love affair between Marias sister Livia and her lover Rowland provided more physical and lewd comedy to the overall story, especially the hilarious performance of Michael Twyman as Livias elderly and lecherous husband Moroso. Sophia Fabiili and Darren Turner seemed to enjoy kissing each other, but it was hard to get the same sense of passion or excitement from them that Healey and Bitton exuded, and at some points I was almost asking myself: Why?

The execution of the play under Patrick Youngs direction was fluid and uninterrupted, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. The attention to detail in all aspects — the acting, the stage direction, the props and costumes — was superb, effectively drawing the audience into the story.

It was unfortunate to see that less than half of the people in attendance were under the age of sixty, what with all the younger, student-type people living on and around campus. Perhaps in an era where womens rights are no longer such a revolutionary idea, the appeal of the play is diminished somewhat.

The archaic and antiquated notions of marriage, obedience, manhood, and even love leave The Taming of the Tamer somewhat disconnected from the contemporary culture of our locale and time. Although altogether amusing and entertaining, this play may have passed its expiration date and lost its relevancy.