Shakespeare sets up residence in Naples—literally.
NAPLES, FL – This January, Shakespeare in Paradise will present The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare at the Collier County Library on Central Avenue in Naples. The production is being sponsored by Physicians Regional Healthcare System.
Set in present day in “a conservative, affluent beach community somewhere in the tropics,” this Shrew sets out to further prove Shakespeare’s ability to force audiences to examine their own lives and lifestyles through his timeless plays.
All scenes are played in bars, on various lanais and beaches, and in a specialty shop. Even the homes referenced are rechristened Royal Port Estate and Coral Cape Manor.
The cast includes real-life married couple John and Mary Anne McKerrow in the leading roles of Petruchio and Katharine. With tongue planted firmly in cheek regarding one of Shrew’s most famous scenes, John McKerrow quips, “I’m going to spank my wife on stage. We’ve been fighting for 20 years to prepare for these roles!”
As the play’s theme practically puts the sanctity of marriage on trial, Shrew features yet another married couple portraying the parents of Shrew’s less-volatile love match, Lucentio (Renzo Soriano) and Bianca (Crystal Demetriades). As the gender-bending society matron, Baptista, veteran-actress Kay Francis is joined on stage by her husband of 26 years, Bruce Francis, as Vincentio. Francis shares her enthusiasm for the project, “Shakespeare in Paradise is on the bleeding edge of bringing back The Bard to the new millennium and presenting the words to modern groundlings. What a wonderful quest.”
Director Randall Kenneth Jones agrees, “When you choose to change the setting for one of Shakespeare’s plays, you better have a really good reason. Shakespeare in Paradise exists solely to bring Shakespeare’s works to the public in a relatable and meaningful way—to adults and students alike. By setting this time-honored play in our own back yard, we have a well-deserved chance to laugh at ourselves and the human condition—and how little things have changed.”
Shakespeare in Paradise’s production of Williams Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew runs from January 17-26 at the Naples Regional Library, 650 Central Avenue, Naples, FL. General Admission: $20. For tickets, visit sipnaples.org
Randall Kenneth Jones