In the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s touring production of “Taming of the Shrew, which will have a free evening performance at Clearfield High March 21 at 7 p.m., those involved feel the title doesn’t tell the whole story.
“The actors (who are in the production) say that many people are being tamed,” said Gayle Stucki, who helped organize the tour’s sole Davis County stop. “Many people are getting the chance to see their own bad behavior.”
The play depicts the often reluctant and at times entirely unwilling courtship of Petruchio and Katerina, the “shrew” of the title. Though the courtship begins solely so her younger sister Bianca will be free to marry Lucentio, it soon turns into a fierce battle of wills.
“It’s such a positive production,” said Stucki of the tour’s portrayal of the play. “There’s a lot of humor in it.”
It’s also a very active production, with a lot of physical comedy and acrobatic additions to scenes.
“I’m delighted by the physicality,” she said. “They’re literally doing gymnastics up there.”
They’re also helping Davis County students learn about Shakespeare. The tour will also have a daytime production open only to students ranging from elementary to high school age. After the production, there is a post-show discussion with the actors and workshops called Stage Combat, Performing Shakespeare’s Text and Developing Character Through Improvisation.
“There’s a little Shakespeare troupe from Whitesides Elementary that actually did ‘Taming of the Shrew’ this year,” said Stucki. “Now they’ll actually get to see a professional production.”
Giving students greater access to the production is one of the main reasons that the tour has moved to Clearfield High from Layton High, where it was held last year.
“It has better access for some of our schools,” said Stucki. “Richi Uminski, the Clearfield High drama teacher, was excited about it.”
No matter how many students are attending the daytime performance, however, she knows there are some who will be missing out.
“This is testing season, so it becomes more and more of a challenge for kids to be able to get out of school,” she said. “Even if they can’t come to the daytime performance, I urge everyone to come at night. Ask your teacher if you can get extra credit, and we’ll sign something for you if we need to.”
Clearfield High is located at 931 S. 1000 East. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All entry is general admission, so seating is first come first served.