All those influences kind of fused and made for really live, fun, and no-holds-barred productions."
Rogers adds, "Those comedies had a feeling of real joy about them. I said, 'Robby, what is going on here that you can be so free, take all these risks, and feel fine about it?' He said, 'Because they're my students and they will love me no matter what I do and their parents are going to love the show no matter what.' I said, 'For God's sake, let's get some of that going at Cutting Ball!'"
If the roots of this production were in the inspiration of chemistry and coincidence, the Cutting Ball soon had to grapple with a play that comes especially freighted with political and theatrical conventions. Faced with the decidedly un-p.c. "taming" plot in which the smart and willful Kate finally submits to Petruchio's abrasive wooing stratagem, modern productions have tended to try to subvert (often by making simply ironic) the play's patriarchal thrust. This works against the text, as Melrose points out. His solution is to emphasize the prologue or induction scene at the outset (often cut from other productions) in which the drunkard Christopher Sly (played by Sinaiko) is made to believe he is a wealthy aristo by a mischievous lord (played by Rogers). By emphasizing this framework, which serves to make the taming plot a play within the play, and by doubling up Sinaiko and Rogers in parts that place them in alternating positions of dominance and deception, the production cleverly opens up the comedy's themes of role playing and the social construction of self.
Finally, by rooting it all in a contemporary San Francisco milieu that includes a porn-industry wrap party, a transvestite bar in the Mission, and the Folsom Street Fair, this Shrew celebrates the fluid nature of identity in Bay Area drag, where everybody knows all the world's a stage.*
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
Through July 29, $15$30
Previews Thurs/12Sat/14, 8 p.m.
Opens Sun/15, 5 p.m.
Runs Thurs.Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.
Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, bldg. D, Marina at Laguna, SF