Shakespeare, Western style

WHS students to perform ‘The Tamin’ of the Shrew’

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"The Tamin' of the Shrew"

Showtimes are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14, and Nov. 20 and 21. The play will be performed at Washburn Performing Arts Center at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St. Tickets are $6 for adults, and $5 for senior citizens and students.

The Tamin' of the Shrew cast

Baptista - Yerania Arriola

Vincentio - Braden Harness

Lucentio - Carson Connors

Petruchio - Tristan Fackler

Gremio - Corbin Jones

Hortensio - Evan Hoff

Tranio - Sydney Valaer

Biondello - Rebecca Bennet

Grumio - Charles Moreland

Pedant - Sean Finucane

Katherina - Keira Stogin

Bianca - Bridgette McCarthy

Widow - Felicity Goetz

Taylor - Maddy Turner

Haberdasher - Brittyn Slocum

Curtis - Austin Leamer

Peter - Maureen Slot

Nathaniel - Emily McNeale

Philip - Tabby Hearn

Joseph - Corrin Kassel

Nicholas - Brittyn Slocum

Grandmother - Jenny Wilson

Granddaughter - Samantha Eakins

Washougal High School’s production of a Shakespearean classic will take a unique twist with “The Tamin’ of the Shrew.”

Instead of 1600s England, the production will be set in a rough-and-tumble, 1840s Western American town.

The idea is the brainchild of seniors Tristan Fackler and Keira Stogin.

After seeing the production at the Ashland Shakespearean Festival, the two proposed it to drama teacher Kelly Gregersen. They included a Powerpoint presentation on how the play could work as a Western.

Gregersen approved their idea, and let the students take the lead on the play, a move that has both invigorated and unnerved them a bit.

“There’s kind of this pressure because if it doesn’t work out, it’s on us,” Stogin said.

Added Fackler, “I got a little nervous. I haven’t seen any professional shows for Shakespeare done as a Western so we really had nothing to base this on.”

Still, the seniors are very excited for opening night Friday. Fackler plays the role of Petruchio, a partying, trust-fund kid. He is being paid to woo the obstinate, stubborn daughter of Baptista, a saloon owner. Stogin serves in the role of the daughter, Katherina, while senior Yerania Arriola portrays Baptista.

Baptista is a brassy, sassy woman, whom Arriola describes as a “mother bear.”

“Everything she does is for her kids,” she said. “I really like putting all the attitude into this role because it is very similar to who I am as a person. This comes naturally to me.”

Katherina is a tough-talking, independent young woman who, “Don’t need no man.”

“On the surface, this appears to be a very sexist play because you have Petruchio, who has been paid to ‘woo’ Katherina and tame her into marriage,” Stogin said. “But you have to pay attention to the undercurrents of it, too. It’s really a play about compromise.”

Her favorite aspect of portraying Katherina is how she changes throughout the show.

“She basically does a complete 180,” Stogin said. “It’s really fun to go through the character development.”

Petruchio’s character is an interesting one, noted Fackler.

“He is definitely the antagonist of the show, but not a villain,” he said. “He is a trust fund boy who has been partying his whole life and wants a challenge. Also, he is getting paid to woo Katherina, but he ends up changing as much as she does.”

Woven throughout the play is a subplot of a young, rich man (Lucentio) who is chasing after Baptista’s younger, pretty, demure daughter, Bianca.

“There are lots of traditional gender roles, as well as a battle of the sexes,” Gregersen said. “We are basing it on traditional Shakespeare but it definitely has its own flavor. We also snuck in a few lines from famous Westerns.”

He noted that the cast of 25 has developed a strong bond throughout the rehearsal process.

“The seniors, especially, have really taken ownership of this production,” Gregersen said. “I like it when students get involved in things. They’ll come in with different plot ideas or ways to tweak things.”

This is the first time the play will be performed at WHS, but it is the first play Gregersen directed in a former job.

“This play works very well with the energy level of high school students,” he said. “There’s a lot of physicality and making the characters come alive. High schoolers bring that in a way that college kids would not.”

Gregersen added that the show is suitable for older elementary school children through senior citizens.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “People who know the show will enjoy the twists.

“For people who have never seen it, it’s a good adaptation and introduction to the Shakespearean language.”