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The Taming
a Comedy
by Lauren Gunderson

COMPANY : The Weird Sisters Theatre Project
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 5017

SHOWING : January 20, 2017 - January 20, 2017



A crackling modern political farce, "The Taming" takes on America’s overheated political rhetoric and upends historical truths about our founding fathers. When a conservative senatorial aide, a liberal political activist, and a very sparkly beauty queen find themselves locked in a hotel room, the political passions of these slightly insane women prove they might just be revolutionary geniuses. Inside the heightened, cheerfully absurd world of "The Taming," Gunderson spanks America’s sound-bite politics with the switch of actual history, and proves Shakespeare’s point that true debate is hot.

Bianca Rachel Frawley
Katherine Caroline Freedlund
Patricia Tiffany Morgan
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The Shaming of the Untrue
by playgoer
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Lauren Gunderson’s "The Taming" is as much an event as a play, being performed as a series of 40 simultaneous readings across the country. The title and the names of two major characters (Katherine and Bianca) pay tribute to Shakespeare, but the only true tie-in to "The Taming of the Shrew" is a reworking of Kate’s "I am ashamed that women are so simple" speech, altering its meaning to indicate that government should be subservient to the people (rather than that women should be subservient to men). This is rather prescient in light of Donald J. Trump’s inauguration speech, in which he promised to deliver America back to the people, but the play can hardly be seen as a ringing endorsement of Trump policy.

The plot concerns a Miss Georgia contestant (Katherine, played by Caroline Aropoglou) who traps a powerful conservative senator’s aide (Patricia, played by Tiffany Morgan) and a liberal blogger (Bianca, played by Rachel Frawley) in a hotel room, attempting to bring them over to her viewpoint that the U.S. constitution needs to be rewritten. There’s a lot of back-and-forth, and after a dream sequence in 1787 in which Katherine becomes George Washington, Patricia becomes James Madison, and Bianca becomes Charles Pinckney of S.C. (with a couple of cameos by Chelcy Cutwright as Martha Washington and Dolley Madison), a resolution is arrived at. It’s a lot of fun, particularly under the superb direction of Kate Donadio MacQueen and with the energetic, exquisite timing of the actresses, but it all feels a little over-long and under-baked. Ms. Gunderson has created strong, indelible characters and tossed them into a situation of philosophical crisis, but it’s being presented as a riff on political factions. Some of the sillier plot elements get self-referential laughs, but they’re silly nevertheless.

I guess when you’re "the most produced living playwright in America in 2016," as the program states, you have the connections to get your work produced as part of a royalty-free, countrywide theatrical happening. And when you’re a playwright as talented and prolific as Lauren Gunderson, what better way to get a minor work disseminated to the theatre-going public? Given the large, appreciative audience at 7 Stages for this one-night event, Ms. Gunderson can consider this play reading a resounding success, at least in Atlanta. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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