By Alexis Mitchell
The University of Findlay is putting on the musical “The Taming,” a feminized Shakespearean production, in the Powell-Grimm theatre, located in the Egner Center for the Performing Arts, Sept. 23-27.
According to The University of Findlay’s theater department Facebook page, this play is a “Hilarious all-female power-play” inspired by Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” in which “contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her beauty pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the American government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator on the cusp of a career breakthrough, and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause.”
Victoria Matsos, adjunct instructor of theater and the director of this play, said that preparing for the play and getting everything ready for performance night takes quite a bit of time.
“I began preparing over the summer,” said Matsos, “It takes a great deal of time to take a play from page to stage”.
Abigail Land who is playing the lead of “Katherine” also said that preparing for this play in particular was a major time commitment.
“It does take a lot of work, we have three hour rehearsals every night. And outside of that you have to spend a lot of time just looking over your lines and working on your character, memorizing the show and all of your movements. So I would say probably four or five hours a day I spend just working and trying to get everything right. Making sure I know everything I need to know,” said Land.
When it came to actually picking what play to put on this fall, Matsos used the presidential election process going on right now as a factor.
“Since we are at the beginning of another long presidential election cycle, the play is so timely. By looking at the American political system through a humorous lens, we can consider our country’s future with a bit of welcome levity.”
When it came to the audition process, Matsos knew exactly what she was looking for.
“I was looking for actors to demonstrate a comprehension of a character’s core, along with a sense of comic timing,” Matsos said
Land landed the comic timing for Matsos in her audition.
“When I auditioned, Katherine wasn’t even the part I auditioned for. I was shooting for one of the other parts because I was interested in that part. But, when I read for Katherine, it felt kind of right, I felt comfortable being Miss Georgia. So it was fun to audition just cold readings,
but it was also really nerve wrecking because I was new here and I didn’t know anybody,” said Land.
Matsos said all audience members will leave laughing.
“The writing is tremendously funny. Playwright Lauren Gunderson takes jabs at both sides of the political fence, addressing uncomfortable truths about the state of American government but allowing us to laugh all the while,” said Matsos.
Matsos said another reason why this production is special is that it is the first to be designed by Carl Walling, the newest addition to UF’s Theater Program.
“His work on the scenic, lightning, and sound elements will bring great dimension to the production,” said Matsos.
Besides being a comical play, Land said “The Taming” is also a very woman-empowering production.
“It is a very feminist play. It has three strong women as the leads so I’m most excited for people to see three strong, independent women as the leads and in charge the whole time. It’s really fun,” said Land.
Not only are UF performers having fun with political implications, they are having fun with accents, too.
Since “Katherine” is Miss Georgia, the audience should expect her to have some of a southern accent. However, Land said that sometimes Katherine just gets so invested in what she is saying that the accent fades away.
“It kind of goes off and on, when I’m trying to be very Miss America or Miss Georgia I use a Georgia accent, but sometimes when Katherine gets really into it sometimes she just drops it and gets very presidential and can get demanding,” said Land.