Shakespeare comes to Old WestGet your lawn chairs ready as outdoor Shakespeare is returning to Dickinson. The newly organized High Plains Theater Company will present Shakespeare’s classic comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew” to coincide with Roughrider Days.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Get your lawn chairs ready as outdoor Shakespeare is returning to Dickinson. The newly organized High Plains Theater Company will present Shakespeare’s classic comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew” to coincide with Roughrider Days.
“The Taming of the Shrew” is one of Shakespeare’s battle-of-the-sexes comedies.
“Set in the Old West, where strangely a lot of Shakespeare’s works seem to fit, the play follows the antics of Petruchio as he seeks a wife,” Director Michael Stevenson said.
The main problem? He has set his eyes on a local maid, with a temper that rivals Satan. Petruchio sets out to win this maid as a challenge from suitors for the shrew’s younger sister’s hand.
Baptista, the father of the girls, has put his foot down, and announced that the younger will not marry until her older, more malicious sister is married.
To assist in the wooing of Kate, almost every character plays somebody else, and in some cases two characters — true Shakespearian mistaken identities, Stevenson said.
The High Plains Theater Company was recently formed by local college students, trying to fill the void created when a summer production was not presented at Dickinson State University. Hence, a new company was born.
High Plains hopes to offer outreach to local schools with Shakespeare programs, and sponsor other activities, like a Halloween haunted house, Stevenson said.
The production will feature community, college and high school actors.
Featured as Kate and Petruchio are Betsy Devero and Tim Rosin, DSU veterans.
“Petruchio basically stumbles into a situation where he finds out some people that he knows are after the same girl,” Rosin said. “Before they can even try to marry this girl, her older sister must marry first.”
He learns the girl’s family is wealthy and he’s after the money.
“If he can marry a wealthy woman, he thinks he can be very happy,” Rosin said.
Supporting them will be Todd Selle, Jenna Sandman, Troy Kuntz, Megan Ries, Amy Tichy, Chris Prchal, Josh Kralicek, Kevin Shaw, Karen Nelson, Eden Jackson, McKenzie Kostelecky, Ian Geiger, Don Ehli, Rebecca Adams and Stevenson.
Sandman, who plays Kate’s younger sister, Bianca, is a DSU history education and English major.
“I think it’s a great play, especially over Roughrider Days,” she said. “It’s been much fun, especially with a western take on it.”
A graduate of DHS, Sandman said, “It’s been fun working with Mr. Stevenson again. It’s been a lot of fun and doesn’t feel like work.”
As the father of the sisters, Selle said his job is to entertain the guests that come into his home.
He said the movie, “Ten Things I Hate About You” (1999), is based on the Shakespearean production.
“People may know the story without actually knowing the story — seeing the different characters coming to life with a western theme,” he said.
Selle is returning to DSU to finish a secondary education degree in mathematics.
“Honestly, the reason I keep coming back is because of theater — I love it,” he said.
Kira Hartman-Judson is costumer, and Rosin is set designer.
The production will be staged on the teacher’s parking lot, on the east side of Dickinson High School, and the audience will sit on the sloping lawn that leads to that lot.
Performances of “The Taming of the Shrew” are 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 1.
A free-will donation will be accepted. A suggested donation of $5 is accepted.
If weather does not cooperate, the production will move into the DHS auditorium.