Porter. Kiss Me, Kate takes place at Ford’s Theatre, Baltimore during June, 1948 and focuses on a divorced pair, Fred Graham and Lilli Vanessi, who acts similarly to the characters they play in the musical production. Disaster ensues as two thugs mistakenly threaten Fred to owe their boss money and insist on holding his cast at gunpoint so that the show will go on and the money they make from the musical production gets through to the thugs. Directed by director, Jeremy Lewis, he utilizes aspects such as areas in acting, directing, and design to provide for an entertaining experience. It was particularly interesting to see how the actors were acting as the musical production developed. Since, it was a musical production based on a musical production, it was possible to see the parallels between the life of an ordinary actor and the roles they played in their own musical production. Fred Graham who also plays as Petruchio played by Nick Gardner and Lilli
Vanessi who also plays as Katherine played by Chelle Denton is a good example of what is is like when real life problems begins to trickle down into their acting and as a consequence, makes it difficult for them to perform in their musical production of The Taming of the Shrew. On a lesser degree, Lois Lane who plays as Bianca played by Emily Chelsea and Bill Cahoun who plays as Lucentio played by Matt Dunn suffers the same problem. Gardner and Denton stood out to me in particular because it was apparent that when she revealed the note that Gardner was was supposed to send to Chelsea during the musical production of The Taming of the Shrew, the production did not goes as planned as Denton continuously did not follow protocol and became upset and hostile towards Garnder inside and outside of the production. Denton’s hostile acting
and Gardner’s desperation as seen in his acting is effective because it alerts me that the success of the production depends entirely on what their chemistry is like outside of the production.
The directing of the musical production allowed for an easy interpretation of the storyline and clarifies any confusion. Directorial decisions made by Lewis does a great job in clearly providing opportunities to understand when the scenes are either focused on the disastrous performance that does not go as planned or the harsh reality of learning that a love note was mistakenly sent to someone else while the entire cast is being held at gunpoint by thugs who demand money. I found it to be particularly effective when the scene is set at the apartment rooms with the stairs and railings in which Lewis uses this as an opportunity to have Dunn and
Chelsea utilize the stairs and railings as they are singing. It stood out to me because sometimes they would use the stairs and railings to make extravagant entrances up and down the stairs as they are singing as well frequent leaning and taking large strides to simulate the rhythm of music. I could easily tell that Dunn and Chelsea were going to get back together when the decision to have Dunn climb the sides of the outside of the second floor apartments to get to
Chelsea served as a clear indicator that they have overcame their problems. I was very impressed with how Dunn was able to climb sideways and then doing backwards flip to reach Chelsea instead of him casually walking up the stairs.
Apart from the acting and directing, the production design of Kiss Me, Kate passed expectations in many aspects. In regards to the set, there were many sets created by scenic designer, Mauri Smith, which not only distinguished the different scenes from one another, but were very detailed that sometimes I found myself focusing on the set instead of the actual actors themselves. The transition between the backstage scene, apartment scene, and The Taming of the
Shrew scene was very effective in not only…