On the Huntington Green Iris McQuillian-Grace and Nate Murphy wrestled for control of each other while shouting out in Shakespearean prose. The fight came to a conclusion as McQuillian-Grace jumped onto Murphy’s back. taking a bite at his arm.
The two actors were taking advantage of the sunny day to rehearse for the Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Taming of the Shrew. Nearby, their director and founder of the company, Tom Simonetti, shouted directions and applauded the staged confrontation.
“It’s a play that always excited me because it has so many different levels to it,” said Simonetti. “Both socially and also mentally.”
He described the play as one of the first romantic comedies.
“I love that these two kind of fight each other through the most weirdest way, but isn’t that how some of our best relationships have happened,” Simonetti said. “I think that’s the highlight.”
Their production of the Shakespeare comedy will be held for free July 14 to July 17 at 8 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Park in Shelton.
The company of professional actors and actresses act out classical Shakespearean plays along with doing workshops in the spring with Shelton public schools.
McQuillian-Grace, a former Shelton resident now living in New York City, plays Kate who is being pursued by the suitor Petruchio played by Murphy who is also from New York City. The two battle each other, society and its expectations as they fall in love with each other.
“What I really find refreshing about Shakespeare’s work and why I think people still do it all the time is that he writes a world where you care about something deeply, intrinsically and their is no shame attached to it,” said McQuillian-Grace.
Her energy ran throughout the play as she argued with her sister Bianca, played by Jessica Breda, as Matt Catalano, from Stratford,playing their father Baptista frantically fights to keep them from each other’s throats.
“I grew up with Shakespeare, I love the language of it, I love the fact that [it’s] the exploration of the human character,” said Catalano. “He had such an insight into what people where, our foibles, our defects, I can do the same script and learn different things everytime.”