The Taming of the Shrew

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Bernard Doyle
Performed in:
Airfield Gardens, Dundrum, Dublin: 21 to 24 June 2005
Glenart Castle, Arklow: Sun 26 June 2005

Shakespeare is thought to have written 'The Taming of the Shrew' between 1590 and 1594.

Drawing for the play



In the Italian city of Padua, a rich young man named Lucentio arrives with his servants, Tranio and Biondello, to attend the local university. Lucentio is excited to begin his studies, but his priorities change when he sees Bianca, a beautiful, mild young woman with whom Lucentio instantly falls in love. There are two problems: first, Bianca already has two suitors and second, Bianca’s father has declared that no one may court Bianca until first her older sister, the vicious, ill-tempered Katherina, is married. Lucentio decides to overcome this problem by disguising himself as Bianca’s Latin tutor to gain an excuse to be in her company. Hortensio disguises himself as her music teacher for the same reason. While Lucentio pretends to be Bianca’s tutor, Tranio dresses up as Lucentio and begins to confer with Baptista about the possibility of marrying his daughter.


The Katherina problem is solved for Bianca’s suitors when Hortensio’s friend Petruchio, a brash young man from Verona, arrives in Padua to find a wife. He intends to marry a rich woman, and does not care what she is like as long as she will bring him a fortune. He agrees to marry Katherina sight unseen.


When Petruchio arrives, he is dressed in a ridiculous outfit and rides on a broken-down horse. After the wedding, Petruchio forces Katherina to leave for his country house before the feast, telling all in earshot that she is now his property and that he may do with her as he pleases. Once they reach his country house, Petruchio continues the process of “taming” Katherina by keeping her from eating or sleeping for several days—he pretends that he loves her so much he cannot allow her to eat his inferior food or to sleep in his poorly made bed.


In Padua, Lucentio wins Bianca’s heart by wooing her with a Latin translation that declares his love. Hortensio makes the same attempt with a music lesson, but Bianca loves Lucentio, and Hortensio resolves to marry a wealthy widow.


Following several more twists and turns in the plot, Petruchio eventually succeeds in gaining Katherina's agreement and her father's permission to the marriage.


At the banquet following the wedding, the other characters are shocked to see that Katherina seems to have been “tamed”—she obeys everything that Petruchio says and gives a long speech advocating the loyalty of wives to their husbands. Petruchio wins a wager by demonstrating that Katherina is now more obedient than Bianca or the widow. He celebrates by saying, "Kiss me Kate," and they do.

Kevin Fahey as Petruchio, Claire Reilly as Katherina
and Oran O'Rua as Grumio


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Claire Reilly
Lisa Walsh
Hilary Madigan
Brian Molloy
Kevin Fahey
Oran O’Rua
Declan Brennan
Jim Carroll
Brendan Dunne
Gerry Doyle
Seamus Whelan
Wes Scully
Doris Cullen
Teresa Dempsey
Lorcan Dunne
Sebastien Iaxx
Assistant Director
Stage Manager
FOH Manager
Sound Design
Sound Operation
Publicity & Music
Bernard Doyle
Teresa Dempsey
Pat Hand
Jean Monaghan
Dymphna Murray
Teresa Dempsey
Paul Macken
Gerry Doyle
Karen Carleton
Joanna Keane
Sean Murphy


The Cast of 'The Taming of the Shrew'


Like Shakespeare's other plays, The Taming of the Shrew lends itself to a variety of interpretations. Is Petruchio a loving husband who teaches his maladjusted bride to find happiness in marriage, or is he a clever bully who forces her to bow to his will? Does Katherina's acquiescence in playing the part of obedient wife reflect a joyous acceptance of her assigned role as a married woman and the beginning of a fulfilling partnership with her husband? Does it, instead, mean that she has learned to play the obedient wife in public so as to get her own way in private? Or does it reflect the defeat of a spirited and intelligent woman forced to give in to a society that dominates and controls women and allows them only very limited room for self-expression?


Our own answers to these questions may have less to do with the play itself than with our attitudes towards the issues and ideas it explores.

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Claire Reilly as Katherina - 'The Shrew'

Kevin Fahey as Petruchio

Deirdre, Teresa and Lorcan

Doris, Ritchie and Geraldine

Ian and Seamus

Ruth and Declan

Joanne, Deirdre and Lisa

Jim and Lorcan

Oran and Joanne

Patrick Hand, Stage Manager
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