In a first for Maynardville, an all-female cast and crew is set to stage The Taming of The Shrew next month.
It is the 66th Shakespeare production at the open-air theatre in Wynberg but director Tara Notcutt, who lives in Green Point, says this one is going to be a little different. Ms Notcutt grew up in a performing arts family. Her mom is a dance teacher and her dad is a drama teacher. Her sister, Cleo, a choreographer is also involved in the production. “There was no escaping it, I think,” she joked.
Ms Notcutt wrote and directed a play when she was in Grade 11 and won an award for it. “I was like cool, I’ll just do this. My parents said we can’t tell you not to because we did it. That’s kind of how I fell into it.”
Ms Notcutt, who used to be project manager at Maynardville theatre, said she was very excited about the production. “It’s quite nice because it’s kind of like a homecoming but obviously in a different kind of driver’s seat. I really wanted to do an all-female production because there are so many amazing women who just don’t get the right opportunities. Purely because a lot of Shakespeare parts are male.”
She said The Taming of The Shrew was about a woman that doesn’t fit in to the time she is in. She doesn’t play the role that people want her to play. A man then comes in who is set on wooing and winning her and shaping her differently
She said that this was in fact the case for a lot of modern theatre.
“This is a way of combating that.” Not only is the whole cast female, she says, but also the whole crew behind the scenes. It’s really cool. It’s about taking the chance to diversify a little bit.”
Ms Notcutt said she wanted to do The Taming of the Shrew because it says a lot about the world we’re currently living in.
The play being set in the early 2000s
“When I was growing up, I listened to songs written by dudes that are really quite derogatory towards women. I think doing the play with all females, now in this time, will hopefully be an opportune time for this kind of production.”
The assistant director in the play Dara Beth also grew up in a similar family background. Instead of performing arts though, her family are mostly musicians. Ms Beth, who is also from Green Point, said her mom has been a singer for the past 30 years while her dad is a drummer. She was born in America to South African parents and has been moving back and forth.
“I came out of the womb and sang every song my parents did as a jazz number. I came out singing and then I found the thing I loved the most about singing was the characters that came from it. I started focusing on the characters more than the songs.”
When she first heard about the concept of The Taming of the Shrew, she wanted to do anything to be involved. “It’s very exciting to be with people who have similar experiences. The energy in the room when we work together, in our big scenes, you can feel how the focus shifts. We are all in it together.”
She said she was excited to be involved in something that provided more opportunities for women. “The play is a great starting point for a dialogue to speak about things that are too close to home.”
Ms Notcutt said it was to find a way get the anxiety and frustration about the world we’re currently living in and be able to channel that artistically.
“The show that we have decided to pick says something in response to the people with the mic. She said the reason why the play was being set in the early 2000s was to make it something familiar and to have an access point. “We should hold ourselves and friends accountable,” she said.
This is the first time a Maynardville production will feature an all-female team.
Ms Notcutt encouraged theatre-goers to check out the production.
“I think if you’ve never been to a Maynardville, this would be a fun musical introduction to it. If you have been, this will be something very different to what you’ve seen before.”
The Taming of the Shrew will run from Wednesday February 7 until Saturday March 3, Monday to Saturdays, at 8.15pm. Tickets cost from R150 to R220.
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