‘Taming of the Shrew’ gets open airing in Busan

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 25, 2016 - 17:47
  • Updated : May 25, 2016 - 18:50
The play is known as a classic battle of the sexes comedy, but when the Busan English Theatre Association stages “The Taming of the Shrew” from Sunday, the battle lines will be a little more blurred than usual, with some gender-swapped roles.

And for director Patrick Sanders, the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death was an opportunity to take BETA back to its roots, having started out with Shakespeare productions in the park. But the main thing for Sanders was his affection for its timeless – and very funny – story. 

Caption: De Anne Dubin plays Katherine and Michael Uchrin plays Petruchio in the Busan English Theatre Association’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” (Natasha Moodaley)

He said the play had been seen by some as having a sexist message – with main character Petruchio "taming" an unruly woman -- but he says does not believe this is the right reading of the script.

“It’s the story of two people building a relationship and a marriage together. The main character is quite shrewish in his own way, and part of the play is him coming to see her as an equal,” he said.

He also went in with an open mind during casting for some of the parts, partly because “We don’t want to put on a (big) play with only three female roles in 2016.”

But his other motivation in casting some male roles as female, one being Tranio, was to add something different to the plot.

“(Tranio) is the servant of the second male lead who poses as a teacher. In the original male role he blends in with the nobility and ends up beating them at their own game,” he said. “Here it’s also a woman beating men beating men at their own game.”

Performances will run at two open-air venues. There are no reservations or admission charges, but the performance may be canceled due to bad weather.

The show runs 2 p.m. at Dongnae Cultural Center near Myeongnyun Station on Sunday and at the Dalmaji Amphitheater near Haeundae Beach on June 4 and 5, also at 2 p.m. Visit the play's event page for more details.

By Paul Kerry (