THE COMPANY TAMING BIOGRAPHIES OF THE SHREW B E HIN D T HE SC ENE S THE SET At first glance, the Padua City of Cory Sincennes’ set is an inviting, idyllic town in America’s Old West. Beneath the surface, however, it is an oppressive place, all about rules and conformity. This is represented by the adobe wall at the back of the set. “The wall is the divide between the conservative town, and the world beyond, where ‘othered’ communities might exist, who are not welcomed.” When Kate is inside the wall, she lashes out “because she doesn’t fit in. It’s not until she’s out there, past the wall, that you really see her flourish.” In this way, “the set itself acts as a character because it tells the audience so much about the people and how they move in the world.”
Set design for The Taming of the Shrew by Cory Sincennes
Only in the wilderness of Petruchio's camp does Kate's sense of self flourish. Shedding societal expectations, she “borrows” an assortment of comfortable, masculine pieces from the outlaws to create her own personal style statement. Her narrative journey ends in the final scene when she sheds the sombre black dress of the “good wife” to reveal her unique spirit.
Bard Artistic Associate and founding member Mara Gottler shares some insights into her costume design for The Taming of the Shrew:
How clothes make the wo/man “Shrewishness is a mechanism to escape the strictures of conventional society.” This directorial focus sets up the clothing narrative for each character in Taming. Townspeople, self-righteous and respectable, follow “civilized” dress codes. For Baptista, as merry widow, that means a dramatic display of half-mourning; for Bianca, as marriageable flirt, an everchanging array of floral self-indulgence. For Kate, as rebellious spinster, the limited options leave her feeling trapped and uncomfortable in her clothes.
THE SOUND & MUSIC
In this re-imagining of a ‘spaghetti western’ Shrew, Sound Designer Malcolm Dow has the unique task of creating his own design out of existing compositions written by the late composer Marc Desormeaux. Armed with CDs provided by Desormeaux’s family and archived files from Bard, Dow is using Desormeaux’s Western-inspired music, but “I’m re-inventing how it works—I’m not necessarily using the same music for the same cues.” The previous design used romantic themes to score scenes in the town, for example. “Now, the town will feel formal and structured, something to rebel against,” says Dow. To achieve this, he is drawing from different parts of Desormeaux’s score to re-build those cues. “It’s almost like a dialogue between my take and his. My job is to do justice to what he’s created—and re-imagine it for this production.”
Mara Gottler's costume sketch and inspiration board for the Widow (played by Ghazal Azarbad)
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