If you are a GW student money is probably on your mind. With the extreme tuition and high prices of DC, finding anything to do for free is a godsend. Luckily, The Shakespeare Theater Company understands this and offers a free play every fall. This year the selection is slightly ironic though since the money-obsessed The Taming of the Shrew is the play of choice.
This is not your average production however. The setting has been moved to modern times on a glossy red set picking up on the color of the boxing gloves depicted in the poster. The affluent Baptista family seems to be an advertising agency with a bikini billboard above their house in Padua, Italy and the youngest flirtacious daughter, Bianca, paraded around like a shiny new car.
This play is not about Bianca however (even though Christina Pumariega is perfectly coy), but the infamous shrew, Katherina. Sabrina LeBeauf has come a long way since “The Cosby Show,” but she really only achieves her best when her paramour Petruchio is on stage too. Ian Merrill Peakes as Petruchio easily steals the show (though some of the servant roles are quite good). He helps to bring some charm and humanity to the harsh character. When the two are on stage you can feel the energy, particularly in the crazily choreographed physical flirtations between the two characters.
It is the physicality, the hilarious use of lighting, and modern setting that really makes this play pop. And did I mention its free!? The play might cost you a little time though. Besides the two hour run time (with an intermission), the line to actually get tickets stretches down the block long before the booth opens at 6pm. I would recommend waiting at least one full hour before they even go on sale.
Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew at the Sidney Harmen Hall until September 12th