Jeff Hacker

Jeff Hacker

Bard in the Valley takes it outdoors with Taming of the Shrew

Kate and Petruchio set to spar on stages across Langley as BIV marks its seventh exciting summer season of Shakespeare

Bard in the Valley – the Fraser Valley’s resident Shakespeare Company – is presenting The Taming of the Shrew on three outdoor stages in Langley this summer.

The play is a comedy revolving around two sisters – Bianca, the sweet one, and Kate the not-so-sweet-one – and their suitors’ attempts to woo them, an impossible task (or so it would seem) where the sharp-tongued Kate is concerned.

Although she’s got more suitors than she can handle, Bianca can’t marry until her older sister has gotten hitched, a challenge that proves irresistible to the fortune-seeking, and mightily-determined Petruchio, who sets his sights on Katherine.

A clash of egos ensues in a winner-takes-all romance, where the narrow streets and finely-appointed rooms of Renaissance Padua have been swapped out for a modern day golf course in BIV’s seventh seasonal outing.

The show is produced by BIV president Diane Gendron and directed by Darcy J. Knopp, an actor and director who trained at the University of the Fraser Valley.

“The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s comedies that I have been waiting to bring to life,” says Knopp. “The collection of characters in this show are as rich and as hilarious as the Bard has put together in any one of his plays.”

Knopp is fascinated by the lengths the characters go to gain the upper hand in their relationships.

“It’s like a relationship derby! It’s friction. It’s sparks! It’s entertainment,” Knopp says.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and his legacy is being celebrated around the world.

“Bard in the Valley’s version of The Taming of the Shrew, while set in a modern day golf and country club, is true to the language and relationships that are Shakespearean to the core,” Gendron says.

The production features the work of two young artists BIV is delighted to highlight, Gendron says, choreographer Tanya Schwaerzle and musical director Lauren Trotzuk.

Eleven out of 16 performances are free.

First up are three, back-to-back performances on the lawn in front of Fort Langley’s historic community hall. (Free; all performances start at 7 p.m. June 29, 30 and July 1.)

Next are five Sunday performances at Township 7 Winery in South Langley (July 8, 9, 10, 15 and 16; the Sunday performance is a 2 p.m. matinee. Evening performances at 7 p.m. Tickets $20. Call 604-532-1766 or email wine@township7.com).

Finally, the Spirit Square Stage in Douglas Park in Langley City hosts eight performances, running July 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, and 31 (Free. Sunday performances are matinees and begin at 2 p.m. Evening performances begin at 7 p.m.)

Audiences are invited to come early and bring a blanket, lawn chairs and a picnic. Chairs will also be available at all venues, along with snacks. Donations welcome to help cover production costs.

More than 60 people are involved in the production, and the cast is made up of actors from Langley, Chilliwack (including Mandy Dyck who plays Kate), Abbotsford and North Delta, hometown of Aaron Holt, who plays Petruchio.