Spring William Shakespeare productions at UNF act as an inventive and unique showcase of student talent and dedication. This year is no different, with UNF students putting on an inventive 1950s-era twist on William Shakespeare’s comedy “The Taming of the Shrew.”
In 2009, the English department displayed UNF’s talented drama program with a spring production of the Greek tragedy “Antigone.” Professor Pam Monteleone originally planned for a production of “Romeo and Juliet” but eventually swapped for the ‘Shrew.’
Taming of the shrew is a timeless comedy by Shakespeare and has been remade into movies including “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Deliver Us from Eva.”
UNF’s production of ‘the Shrew’ takes place in 2010, but throws it back to the late 1950s to explore gender roles prior to the feminist movement of the ‘60s.
Performing the ‘Shrew’ takes imagination and art, because many directors take the elements of feminism, misogyny and gender roles into far off territory, Monteleone said. When creating this new interpretation of the play, the setting had to be “pre-pill” and before the feminist movement.
The 1950s-era setting allows for the actors to explore gender roles, societal roles and themes of feminism and social norms. The show will include motifs associated with the period including Greasers, Stepford housewives and music by Elvis Pressley and the Righteous Brothers.
Students auditioned for the show in January and started working over 25 hours a week in rehearsal for the play. Sarah Raiskin, a communication sophomore playing Baptista in the play, said working with Dr. Monteleone provided an essential outlet for learning more about her craft.
“I’ve learned more over this semester about acting, about Shakespeare and about different life lessons more this semester than I’ve ever learned in my life,” Raiskin said.
Robert McChargue, an English and history junior, said the production has been incredible but exhausting.
“There is such a strong bond between the cast members,” McChargue said. “There’s nobody who’s the outcast, we’re all very, very tight, and we all love each other very much.”
Ronica Arntzen, an English senior, plays the shrew, Katherina, who she played before in a previous production of the play. Arntzen said she didn’t understand Shakespeare when she originally played Katherina but hopes to be able to apply the knowledge and experience she’s learned through her acting classes to her reprisal.
“It’s really difficult to play the same character again,” Arntzen said. “A lot of the old way I built Katherina is coming out, and I want her to be something new.”
Monteleone said Artnzen’s talent comes from her humility.
“She will allow the boundaries of her sense of self to be so flexible that she can step into almost anybody’s shoes and play any role,” Monteleone said.
Check out performances of ‘Shrew’ on campus starting Friday, April 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $5 for students with ID and seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the UNF Box Office or at the door.
Andrew Robinson Theatre:
April 9, 14, and 15 at 8:00 p.m.
Outdoors on the Green:
April 10 & 11 at 8:00 p.m
Performances in Atlantic Beach at Johansen Park (off Seminole Rd.):
Shakespeare in the Park
April 16 & 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Live music beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public.
Patrons should bring chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner, if they choose.