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From left: The ABC Crew players James Euto, Ken Bowald, and Karen N. Chan portray Petrucio, Hortensio and Grumio, respectively, during the crew's rehearsal of Taming of the Shrew. The play will show at the Stuart Opera House in Nelsonville on Tuesday, May 8 (Brien Vincent | Staff Photographer)

Dating, Shakespeare style, comes to Athens

A local theater company is putting on a production that shows how tough finding a good mate is, even in Shakespeare’s time.

The Taming of the Shrew, often called Shakespeare’s “battle of the sexes,” follows the story of Baptista, a girl who has many suitors but decides to wait to marry until her sister, Katharina, a strong-willed “shrew,” can.

In the hopes of winning over Baptista, two of her suitors team up to find Katharina a husband, coming across several potential beaus for Katharina in the process.

The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s best-known comedies,” said Emily Maluski, a publicist from the ABC Players. “It’s a story of courtship, quick wit and disguises.”

The show, directed by Celeste Parsons, has a cast of 14 actors, some of whom share a character or play different sexes. Marlo Tinkham, who plays Pedant and also created costumes for the production, said that the gender-swapping casts were made almost too well on occasion.

“I saw Karen Chan, who plays the old man Grumio, and couldn’t even look at her at rehearsal,” Tinkham said. “She’s an awesome old man, but looked so much like a man, it freaked me out.”

Though Chan’s makeup and costume might turn her into a frighteningly realistic man, she said that he is the favorite character she has ever played.

“He is basically the fool and tries to involve the audience with humor. He's what makes all of the jokes work,” she said. “I’m grateful that a younger man didn’t snatch this role up because never did I think I’d play this role.”

The show also features music by Timothy S. Klugh, a local artist and owner of a recording studio whose work has been featured in several other community theater events, including the ABC Player’s 2009 production of Wyrd Sisters.

Though the language may be difficult to understand with the modern ear, Chan said that the show is accessible to all audiences.

“(Shakespeare) tells such a beautiful story, and I think everyone loves a good story,” Chan said. “That’s what is lacking in this fast-paced world we're in. We need to sit back and let it all happen.

“Plus, it’s just a very funny show,” she added.


If You Go:

What: ABC Players present The Taming of the Shrew

When: 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Stuart’s Opera House, 52 Public Square

Admission: $10 general, $5 for students in groups of 10 or more

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