#TheaterPH - The Squaddies’ Shrew, Ian Maclennan's Adaptation of The Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare

Tanghalang Ateneo, the longest-running theater company of the Loyola Schools of the Ateneo de Manila University, presents The Squaddies’ Shrew, its 39th Season intersession production and entry to the third biennial conference of the Asian Shakespeare Association: “Shakespeare, Traffic, Tropics”. The play is Ian Maclennan’s adaptation and direction of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Ian Maclennan is Professor and current Chair of the Department of Theater and Motion Picture Arts of Thorneloe University in Laurentian, Canada where he teaches Theater History, Shakespeare in Performance, Acting, and Directing. He has written extensively on Shakespearean performance, several of them presented in various conferences across the world. Also an active theater practitioner, Ian has acted and directed in countless productions for the university and the professional stage, and has facilitated workshops on various aspects of performance, Shakespearean or otherwise, in various institutions in North America and the Asia-Pacific. The Squaddies’ Shrew, his adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew was first shown in Tasmania, Australia in 2006 and will have its Philippine debut during the 2018 ASA Conference.

In Shakespeare’s play, Signor Baptista won’t let his younger daughter, Bianca, get married until he has married off his elder daughter, Katherine.  Problem is, Katherine has a reputation as a shrew, defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as a “woman with a violent, scolding, or nagging temperament” and no one wants to marry her. Along comes Petruccio who is looking for a wife, particularly one with some money behind her. He decides that Katherine will make a great wife and that he will work on her until he has “tamed” her. He challenges her, he embarrasses her, he scolds her, but she still doesn’t give in. In Shakespeare’s play, Petruccio finally wears her down until she lets him have his way and she becomes the obedient wife. In The Squaddies’ Shrew, Katherine never totally gives in.  She recognizes what he is doing and decides to play his game to make him think he has her under his thumb. So, in the long run, Katherine beats Petruccio at his own game by making him think he has won and she is tamed.

In this adaptation, the squaddies (young soldier recruits) put on the play as part of a trick being played on one of their own, Sly, who is a drunken lout. They get him to believe that he is a general and that Bartholomew, one of the squaddies, is his wife. They then put up this play to entertain the general and get him to play Petruccio. Sly falls for it, hook, line, and sinker. These squaddies are not great actors but what they lack in talent, they make up in enthusiasm.  

Tanghalang Ateneo’s Ervin Ocrisma plays the roles of Sly, a squaddie who is tricked by his comrades into believing he is a general, and Petruccio, a suitor to Katherine who is the only one who could tame her.

The playdates of The Squaddies’ Shrew are May 27-28. Performances start at 6:30PM at The Doreen Black Box Theater, Arete Arts Wing, Ateneo de Manila University. This intersession staging of the play also serves as a preview run of the season opener of Tanghalang Ateneo’s 40th Season. Regular shows are targeted to run from August 14-18, August 21-25, August 28-September 1 later this year.

For questions and additional details about the show, please contact Frances Catipon at 09175285650.

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