Theater : "The Shrew:" Fun at the Amphitheater
The Tisbury Amphitheater is so neatly tucked away in the woods behind Tashmoo Overlook that to a passerby it is almost completely hidden. A narrow, tangled dirt path leads from the side of the road to the theater, which is formed entirely out of its natural surroundings.
The woodsy venue has some natural features that aren't so attractive, like insects, particularly on a still, muggy night. Bring bug spray to fend off pesky distractions during the show. The outdoor stage's grass is well worn - the surface leveled due to the actors' heavy tread, and in the case of the current show, Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," the many wrestling bouts. A Vineyard Playhouse production, Shrew is at the Amphitheater through Sunday, August 9.
The retreat provides a perfect setting for enjoying the comedy. The play is directed by New York-based Johanna McKeon, a familiar presence at Vineyard Playhouse for the past five seasons, with music composed and orchestrated by Steve Lighty.
"The Taming of The Shrew" is positively amusing. Set in Padua, Italy, the storyline revolves around the marriages of two sisters: the tame and beauteous Bianca (Zoe Morris) and her more tempestuous sister, Katharina (Chelsea McCarthy), the shrew for whom the play is named. The wealthy father of the discordant pair, Baptista Minola (Bill Cookson), insists that in order for Bianca to be able to accept any of her many suitors, her older, hellish sister must first be married.
Enter Lucentio, a rich young man with servants, who is immediately drawn to the fair and gentle Bianca, and determined to marry the young woman with whom he falls instantly in love. Lucentio devises a cunning plan in order to be in her company: he exchanges clothing with his servant, Tranio (Max Cramer), to disguise himself as her Latin tutor. Meanwhile Tranio (dressed as Lucentio) obtains Minola's approval for him to wed his daughter. Conveniently, the brazen Veronese Petruchio (Joe Forgione) arrives in Padua and deems Katharina suitable for marriage before having met her, as he is in pursuit of wealth and knows that she will bestow a sizable fortune upon him.