The Chatham Community Players announced open auditions for William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" to be held at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Chatham Playhouse.
The play, a fast-moving battle-of-the-sexes comedy, has been made familiar to modern audiences through the musical "Kiss Me, Kate" and the film "10 Things I Hate About You" starring Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles.
The plot revolves around the courtship of Katherina, the headstrong "shrew" of the title, and Petruchio, a down-on-his-luck gentleman of Verona who covets Kate's dowry. She, however, is not eager for the match—or any match—and the two engage in a battle of wits and strength for the upper hand. A subplot involved Kate's flirtatious sister Bianca and the men who compete for the opportunity to marry her.
Chris Furlong of the Chatham Community Players invites anyone interested to audition for the play which reminds audiences that "love is a battlefield."
Director Jen Plants seeks a diverse cast of about 14 actors of all ethnic and racial backgrounds who are bold, funny and bring their own ideas to the table.
- PETRUCCIO (30’s-40’s, suitor and eventual husband of Kate) Brave, fearless and manly. Uber-confident and shockingly likable. He is willing to take on any challenge and is so wildly creative and hardworking that he almost always wins—and has the time of his life doing so. He takes the stage whenever he appears, and is physically bold. A tour-de-force of a man.
- LUCENTIO (20’s, suitor and eventual husband of Bianca) A real Prince Charming, the classic romantic hero, which means that in a comedy, he’s also a bit naïve and painfully lovesick and idealistic.
- TRANIO (20’s. servant of Lucentio and pretends to be Lucentio) One smart cookie. In comedy, there’s often a guy of low status who is actually the smartest person in the room. This is Tranio (and he counters Biondello.) His big brain can make him sassy and sarcastic at times.
- BAPTISTA (50’s-70’s, Kate and Bianca’s father) The wise, bombastic but long-suffering (and ultimately good) patriarch of the play. He’s been overrun by Kate in the past, but in the play he finally stands up to her.
- GREMIO (60’s, suitor to Bianca) WAY too old for Bianca, but a man who fancies himself still young and virile. A bit of a buffoon.
- HORTENSIO (20’s, suitor to Bianca) A bit of a nerd, a bit humorless and always the straightlaced one in the group, Hortensio (like Gremio) is a total mismatch for Bianca.
- BIONDELLO (20’s-40’s, servant of Lucentio) A totally ineffectual servant, and totally unaware that he’s not actually very good at his job at all. His comedy comes from his ineptitude (in contrast to Tranio.)
- GRUMIO (20’s-40’s, servant of Petruccio) Petruccio’s sidekick, he’s crafty and optimistic (and a great physical comedian) Nothing Petruccio does could be done without Grumio.
- CURTIS/TAILOR (teens-40’s, Petruccio’s servant) A great role for a really great character actor. Curtis is Petruccio’s house boy. He is put upon and long suffering in the play. The actor will double as the Tailor, yet another character who gets kicked around in the play!
- VINCENTIO (50’s-70’s, Lucentio’s father) A man who believes in order and who is totally taken by surprise at the madness he discovers in Padua! A bit of a stuffed-shirt, he learns to loosen up as he discovers the new world his son has found.
- SLY/MERCHANT The merchant will actually be played by the actor playing Christopher Sly! Christopher Sly is a bumbling, clownish, not-too-bright common man, who starts the play drunk. He gets fooled into thinking he’s a wealthy lord and watches a play. . . The Taming of the Shrew! Eventually, Sly gets pulled into the action and plays a role in the Shrew story, but he’s not a great actor. Like Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Drew, Sly gets pulled into something extraordinary and thinks he’s a much greater man than he really is.
- KATE (30’s) Bold and brassy. Brave and witty. A fighter, not a lover. A woman, not a girl. The quickest mind of anyone in the play. Kate is no fool, and has no patience for the foolish ways of anyone else. Most importantly, she knows her worth and isn’t afraid to fight for what she wants. She is physically fearless and used to being in charge. In the play, Kate learns how to have fun.
- BIANCA (20’s) A youthful girl of a dual nature. On the surface, she is all sweetness and light and innocence—the perfect ingénue. Underneath, she is a one tough cookie—manipulative and tough, just like her sister Kate. Bianca is just good at knowing what role the world wants her to play. This duality makes her way more interesting and fun to play than your typical young lover!
- HOSTESS/WIDOW The widow is shrewish and tight. She is proper and concerned with outward appearances. Opportunities for great comedy with the right touch. The actor who plays the Widow will also play the earthy Hostess in the Induction. Most of the company will also play roles in the Induction (the Christopher Sly story that frames the Shrew play.)
The Chatham Players have an open call casting policy, and everyone is encouraged to audition. Anyone with questions may call Leslie Reagoso at (973) 769-3886 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The play will be performed March 1 through 10, with rehearsals beginning in mid-January.
Sides are available prior to the auditions via the Chatham Community Players' website.