The Old Globe Brings Back Summer Shakespeare Festival After Two Years

Kicking it Off With a Modernized, Diverse, Pop-ified, Plain Great Production of The Taming of the Shrew A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

Deborah Ann Woll as Katherine (center) with the cast of The Taming of the Shrew, 2022. Photo by Jim Cox.
Shakespeare is not for everybody. And, in the past six years or so, Shakespeare has been analyzed, pointed at, and questioned more than ever. The Taming of the Shrew is a play that has been in the misogynist or sexist category throughout the years as it entails a father with two daughters looking for suiters. The thing is that the oldest daughter is a tad shrew. Which really is, independent and assertive but...yeah. So, dad will not marry the youngest sister until the eldest is spoken for and all the adventures that happen in between until the deal is closed.

There are various elements to The Globe production that make it fun, fast-paced, and a summer must-see. Here are the top 5:

1) It is directed by a woman Periodt

1.1: Shana Cooper earned national acclaim for her 2018 production of 'Shrew at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Cooper re-arranged the pieces in the story to give it some sassy "umph" and have the main couple of Kate (Deborah Ann Woll) and Petruchio (James Udom) be allies that are strongly attracted to each other rather than fierce competitors. 

2) Deborah Ann Woll and James Udom are fantastic. Udom is a Shakespeare master with many credits under his belt like Macbeth both in theatre and film, The Winter’s Tale, and it definitely shows. Woll is witty, tough, and gracious. Her major TV credits like “True Blood,” “Daredevil,” “The Punisher,” etc make it also fun. It is cool to see a TV personality on a theatre stage, especially doing a Shakespeare production, and have the opportunity to see their different acting abilities. (I can tell you my husband was very excited when he recognized her).

John Tufts as Hortensio and Cassia Thompson as Bianca in
The Taming of the Shrew, 2022. Photo by Jim Cox.

3) Switching it up with the genders in the roles is also fun. One of the main ones is Lucentio's servant Tranio who in this production is played by the engaging and hilarious Felicity Jones Latta. Not the first time The Globe has done this. Their 2018 production of The Tempest, the Duke of Milan Prospero, was the Duchess of Milan Prospera, played majestically by the amazing Kate Burton. 

Jesse J. Perez who acts in the play and is also a Professor and the Program Director of The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program is brilliantly saucy as Gremio, pumping the character with his very unique style -physical ability with flips included- and I even saw a bit of pachuco in Gremio which I loved. John Tufts is a triple-acting threat in this piece portraying the roles of Hortensio, Biondello, and Merchant while changing wigs and mustache on stage showing speed and skill but also, giving the audience hilarious scenes. As a side note, I would totally buy the suit he wears as Hortensio -no joke- and the fact that Wilson Chin (mentioned below) went with the option of leaving him shirtless with the suit, gives the character even more sass. Orville Mendoza is well known in the musical theatre scene in San Diego with also amazing vocals. It was nice to see him in a Shakespeare play as Grumio and command that stage with great comedy.

4) The Globe is known for its amazing set and costume design and this play is no exception. Ásta Bennie Hostetter's costume design is colorful, and just super stylish making the actors pop and look amazing. Wilson Chin's scenic design of a bright green garden with garden statues also makes the scene pop with great balance and a beautiful aesthetic. 

5) The music. This production includes subtle songs and snippets here and there with amazing vocals perfectly executed by Old Globe/USD Shiley M.F.A. Program second-year student, Brett Cassidy, Maggie Walter's potent soprano voice, and Becca Lustgarten also an M.F.A student. This just is the cherry on top of a round, very well-put-together production. 

The Taming of the Shrew is definitely a must-see this summer and one of the best Shakespeare productions at The Globe that I have seen. Currently playing until July 10 at the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. For ticket prices and performance times please click here

The cast of The Taming of the Shrew, 2022. Photo by Jim Cox.

COVID-19 Policy: The Old Globe will not require patrons to provide proof of vaccination or to wear masks while attending shows or events in either indoor or outdoor venues. However, they still strongly recommend mask-wearing while at the Globe, and patrons should feel comfortable wearing a mask anywhere on their campus.

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