NOW Magazine - Fringe - - Fringe Preview - JON KA­PLAN

Ju­lia Nish-Lapidus had never heard a cheesier first-date line.

Three years ago, James Wallis took her out and said at the end of the evening that he’d al­ways wanted to stage Shake­speare’s The Tam­ing Of

The Shrew in a bar. He wanted Nish-Lapidus to play Kate to his Petru­chio.

Fast-for­ward to this sum­mer’s Fringe, where the two are per­form­ing those roles in a pro­duc­tion by

Shake­speare BASH’d at the Vic­tory Café. And the two ac­tors are get­ting mar­ried this fall.

“The show lends it­self to a bar set­ting,” says Nish-Lapidus, “be­cause it’s loud, crazy, and the char­ac­ters are ex­treme types. It’s also writ­ten as a play-within-a-play, and our pro­duc­tion turns the ac­tors into a group of play­ers who reg­u­larly per­form at the Vic­tory.”

Shrew fits into the com­pany’s man­date to fo­cus on text and al­low the Bard’s story and words rather than pro­duc­tion val­ues to drive the ac­tion. Pre­vi­ously, Shake­speare BASH’d has staged read­ings of Romeo And Juliet and A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream.

Nish-Lapidus sees her part­ner­ing with Wallis fol­low­ing the pat­tern of other off­stage cou­ples play­ing the ini­tially war­ring Kate and Petru­chio, among them Mary Pick­ford and Dou­glas Fair­banks and El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor and Richard Bur­ton.

“The char­ac­ters are an hon­est, real-life cou­ple, each see­ing the faults in the other; nei­ther is happy ac­cept­ing what society con­sid­ers to be a proper mate. Petru­chio rec­og­nizes that they’re suited to each other, and Kate comes to that view­point by the end of the play.” What about Kate’s fa­mously dif­fi­cult speech at the end, where she talks about the duty owed a hus­band?

“At the play’s start, she’s an­gry, cold, frus­trated and sad, not val­ued in her world. Petru­chio teaches her that she has value, strength and in­de­pen­dence, both alone and with him. That fi­nal speech, I think, is heart­felt and lov­ing, a re­al­iza­tion that the two are com­mit­ted to a real part­ner­ship.”

From July 5 at the Vic­tory Café (581 Markham)

Real-life cou­ple Ju­lia Nish Lapidus (left) and James Wallis get phys­i­cal for their Tam­ing Of The Shrew.

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