Jun. 20, 2012 - Issue #870: Food Trucks
Kiss Me, Kate
Offstage events collide with onstage happenings for a play-within-a-play that's one part Cole Porter musical and one part Shakespeare. Set in Baltimore in the '40s, the Tony Award-winning production Kiss Me, Kate ties together a cast rehearsing for the Shakespeare classic The Taming of the Shrew while navigating their own romantic turbulence outside that of their characters.
Local theatre veteran Gary Carter is taking on the dual role of Fred Graham and Petruchio. Graham is the director of the play within the production and Petruchio is the male lead in The Taming of the Shrew, who is betrothed to Kate, a strong-willed young woman whom no man desires to marry. Meanwhile, Fred has his own leading lady to contend with named Lily Vanessi, who also happens to be his ex-wife.
"They're both kind of stuffed shirts to some degree, have fair-sized egos, and they relate the same way to their respective leading ladies," Carter says of his characters, whom he said were simple to juggle due to these similarities. "I think of myself as a little more reserved and introverted, and with Fred I get to be kind of a big blowhard and that's fun to play."
The production, presented by ELOPE Musical Theatre, has become a reality through director and choreographer Shelley Tookey, along with a diverse cast from a variety of theatrical backgrounds. Juggling dual roles has been a relatively simple task for Tookey as well, as she doesn't have to constantly check her decisions with someone else.
"It is all my own vision and the cast brings it all to life," she adds.
The mere mention of Shakespeare can be a deterrent for some theatre-goers, but Carter says in the case of Kiss Me, Kate, the Shakespearean dialect is kept to a minimum and the final result is a story audiences can relate to through its focus on relationships.
"Part of the fun of the story is because of the relationship between Fred and LIly. The actual play starts breaking down and things go awry," Carter adds. "It's not like two hours of Shakespeare. It's just a very brief bit of it; a couple of scenes before things go back to real life."
Adding to the humorous nature of the production is the numerous musical numbers woven throughout, dabbling in a multitude of styles and laced with witty innuendo.
Fri, Jun 22 – Sat, Jun 30 (7:30 pm, 2 pm matinee on Sun, Jun 24 and Sat, Jun 30)
Directed by Shelley Tookey
MacEwan Centre for the Arts, $22.50 – $27.50
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