Petruchio is looking for a wealthy wife. Baptista is looking for a husband for each of his two daughters, Kate and Bianca. Bianca has many suitors but Kate is well known as a shrew and has no suitors. Baptista must find a husband for Kate first as she is the elder of the two. Enter Petruchio!
When I was asked to direct this play I was extremely excited. I love Shakespeare and relished the opportunity to bring one of his most famous plays to the Bingley stage. Writing this note, two weeks into rehearsals, my excitement has given way to some feelings of trepidation.
One of the most marvellous things about Shakespeare's work is that the story lines, the messages within them and the characters are so complex, detailed and intricate that they can be interpreted in many different ways. As a result his plays have stood the test of time like no one else's and are, in many ways, as relevant today as they were when they were first written. I have personally seen completely different versions of Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, Comedy of Errors, Henry IV and Macbeth amongst others. And there have been the 'spin offs' including West Side Story, Forbidden Planet and, of course, Kiss me Kate.
The play is as complex as it gets. It is the only one of Shakespeare's works to include an Induction, a device popular in his day that was used instead of a prologue. This effectively makes the main play a 'play within a play' and, as such, there are two completely different stories but they are clearly linked and contain many similar threads.
The main story line of Petruchio's 'taming' of Kate has been interpreted in many ways in the past. He has been played as anything from a caring and concerned lover to a wife beating misogynist. Underlying their story are many convoluted sub-plots and the audience has to really listen hard to keep up with who is who. In this play nothing is really what it seems.
So why my concern you may ask? Well, the fact is, as I am sure those of you who are familiar with Shakespeare's work appreciate, that actually doing it is far harder than watching someone else's production! Couple that with the Gala Performance we will be holding on the Sunday prior to the run and I am sure I will have many sleepless nights over the next few weeks.
However, I do have a wonderful cast and crew and I am sure that, by the time you are reading this, I will have been worrying in vain.
I do hope you enjoy our performance and here's to the next 60 years at BLT.
"Anna Yeadon was strong as a tiny but defiant Kate........"
"Julian Freeman was great as Grumio, Petruchio's servant. Even when not centre stage he was in character."
"The play is full of twists and turns, roles are reversed and characters are not who they seem."
Sue Butterfield - Telegraph and Argus