Session Four: Week 36


Today was an exciting session, as we were able to work with props and costumes for the first time. Things seem to work for the most part, and we had a lot of fun trying items on, exchanging things that didn’t fit, and problem solving around items that had been forgotten (and we have a solution for that going forward!).

Several of the women shared new cuts that they had made, and then we began working through the play from the beginning. We made it nearly halfway through with very few lengthy pauses. Some of us are working without scripts, while some are still shaky and holding onto their “blankies,” as one woman put it. That said, success in this program is very individual, and no one feels pressure from anyone but herself to be completely off book when we perform.

Some parts of our play are working extremely well, while others are further from what we envision. All in all, though, we left feeling extremely good about our work, energized by the new materials, and pumped up to power through the end phase of our process.


We dedicated most of today’s session to working with our Gremio, who was not satisfied with her work on her “wedding story.” This was a lot of fun, as she has gone from someone with severe stage fright to a performer who seems to have no fear about pushing herself out of her comfort zone, playing her character truthfully while going for as many laughs as possible. Working together, we brought her monologue out into the house, with Tranio and Lucentio following her closely. Our Lucentio made the enormous contribution of giving her physical checkpoints to help her remember her lines, i.e., “You’re here when he gives a cuff, then you move here and the priest falls down.” We had a blast working through it, and our Gremio now feels much more confident.

We spent the remainder of our time working lines in the final scene. Another productive day for everyone present, with great team work all around.


We finished our first dress run of the play tonight. There were a few more hiccups than we would have liked, but we made it through and are confident that we can get through the whole thing at our next meeting.

Unfortunately, due to our interrupted run, there was a misunderstanding between two of the women about a costume piece that they need to exchange. As I mediated the conflict, it became clear that it was not a personal one, but the type of conflict many seasoned actors might recognize as familiar from past productions – unfortunately our time with props and costumes is limited, it’s a stressful part of the process, and so the miscommunication boiled over more than it probably had to. We figured out what needed to be figured out, though, both women agreed to move past it and find a way to continue to work together, and I think we’ll be okay.

One of the positive outcomes when we have such a conflict is the opportunity to reflect on better ways in which it could have been handled – not sweeping it under the rug or ignoring the issue, but, in this case at least, allowing the other person to finish what she was saying before responding. Part of the reason things got heated is that they weren’t truly listening to one another. Being able to talk that out afterward and offer other options for the future (because none of us can avoid conflict 100% of the time) is what we hope our takeaway can be, and it was this time.

Session Four: Week 20


We continued with the work that the group had done last week on Act IV Scene ii. We began by clarifying each person’s objectives – what does everyone want in this scene? At that point, one woman suggested that we work our way through the scene in contemporary English, since it seemed like there was some confusion about what the lines meant. I invited her to lead the exercise, and she did a great job helping people through it and stopping them when things needed to be clarified; they actually were pretty on top of stopping for clarification themselves in most cases.

After working on this scene for quite a bit (and it gained quite a bit of clarity and strength!), we began work on the final scene of the play, which is going to need a lot of attention. We read through it somewhat on its feet, although, since it takes place at a banquet, people mostly stayed seated. We discussed the need to be very intentional about the seating arrangement and decided to try several different things as we move forward.

There is still some contention about the meaning of Katharina’s final monologue, and that is to be expected as there is ongoing debate about that piece in all sorts of circles where Shakespeare is debated! We may never all agree on what’s going on here – is Kate truly “tamed” or is she being sarcastic? Is she just trying to win a bet? It’s going to take some exploration, as well as a willingness on the ensemble’s part to trust the woman playing Kate, in the end, to go with her gut on what feels best to her.


Written by Lauren

On Thursday we started out talking about costumes, the set, and some props. One woman told us that she will be stepping down from the part of Grumio since she's released the week of the performance and she needs to focus her energy on that. She's sticking with the group, she just doesn't want that extra pressure. Another woman talked about possibly stepping down from her role as Baptista so she can focus her energy on writing, which has become a very important part of her life. She did say that if no one else is interested in the role, she would keep it.

The women had really great ideas in terms of costumes. They want it to look as period as possible, but with modern comedic elements such as college type paraphernalia for Padua. The women had some great ideas regarding their own characters. When it came to the set, there was a question of what we would do with the flats. One woman suggested that we do something similar to last year by painting words that relate to misogyny and patriarchy on the flats. They want to keep the show funny, but that would also show some of the underlying themes in the show. Overall, we're still brainstorming, though!

After that we did some warm ups. Since we didn't have a large attendance, we were able to concentrate on some monologue work with Katharina and Petruchio. We went through Katharina's final monologue and broke it down line by line and talked about what her intentions are for the piece. We came to some good conclusions, and she was excited to do some more work on her own time. We did the same thing with Petruchio and also had some good breakthroughs.

We then moved on to the scene where Katharina and Petruchio first meet. We broke down the scene and found some spots where there's innuendo. This gave some good context and the actors had a good time playing around with the language and the scene.

Even though we had a small group, it was very productive!