At Good Counsel Theatre Company, we’ve pushed the boundaries on what it means to produce high school theatre. So when we decided to take a stab at Shakespeare and Sondheim this season I knew that this year would be no different. What we didn’t know last March (when we announced the shows for this year) was that we’d actually be performing in ‘non-traditional’ theatre spaces as well. However, at GCTC we embrace the old adage, “the show must go on,” and this show has lived up to that motto time and time again.
Last fall our producer, Rosemary Slocum, challenged me to bring back Shakespeare at Good Counsel. In the past few years we’ve tackled so many tough performance styles, from Jerome Robbins choreography to existential comedy, as well as technically elaborate effects, such as exploding cans of tomatoes and even setting a radio studio on fire! It seemed to me that shying away from Shakespeare any longer would be a disservice to our students and our audience.
This production of The Taming of the Shrew was initially inspired by a production of the play that I saw at The Folger Theatre in Washington, DC a number of years ago. However, while the initial concept was inspired by that production, what you are about to see is an original adaptation. After this cast auditioned this past April, I sat with the script and Spotify all summer. Working with the text and the talent of our cast as my guide, I cut the play down & added in country, folk, and bluegrass music. My goal was to keep the integrity of Shakespeare’s text while adapting the performance to entertain our high school audience.
Once rehearsals began, our mentors and students took up the baton. Our costume and hair team has embraced the Wild West theme with the costumes. Our lighting crew has created a unique light plot to fit the interactive style of our play. Our sound team has adapted to the use of a Foley table to help create the environment for this show. And our house managers, prop mistresses, and scenic crew have banded together to create an immersive world for you, the viewer. You’ll judge for yourself how well this experiment worked, but I must say, that I am particularly proud of this production. From the actors to our entire production crew, this has truly been an artistic collaboration from start to finish.