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2/11/2014 10:26:00 AM
Utah Shakespeare Festival coming to Williams for free performance

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter


Shakespeare is coming to Williams next week with a performance of "The Taming of the Shrew" by the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

The performance will take place on Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Williams Elementary-Middle School auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Through its Shakespeare-in-the-Schools program, the Utah Shakespeare Festival travels through Utah, Nevada and Arizona from January to April performing a play for 150 schools.

The group gives the following synopsis of this year's play on its website: "'The Taming of the Shrew' takes on a gypsy carnival twist in this fast paced, slapstick comedy. The story ignites the fire for a classic battle-of-the-sexes challenge between two stubborn and shrewish individuals. The sweet Bianca wishes to marry, but Kate, her older unruly sister, must marry first. Rising to the challenge is fortune-seeking Petruchio, but can he match Kate wit for wit? The couple bickers and fights with each other right up to the play's surprising conclusion."

The cost to bring the show to town was $1,000, which the Williams Unified School District (WUSD) paid for using tax credit donations. For that reason, the performance is free for everyone in the community.

"I just wanted to illustrate for (the community) what wonderful things we can do with the tax credit donations that we would otherwise not have any funding to support," said WUSD Superintendent Rachel Savage. "I just am really excited about (the performance). I think it's going to be a special event hopefully for the community and I would like to pack our auditorium."

She added that the performance will be a good educational experience for students outside of school.

"We want to find ways to break down the classroom walls and find extended learning opportunities that enhance what is happening in the classroom," Savage said.

Katy Schmitz of the Williams Christian Homeschoolers had the idea to bring the play to town after attending the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah about five summers ago and hearing about their educational tour.

"I think Shakespeare's important for everyone," she said. "But I think it's particularly important for a small community like ours because we get very little chance to see real acting. We never get to see onstage performances of this level."

Schmitz added that to see a high quality show like this, Williams residents would normally have to travel to Phoenix, which is costly.

"So having them come here I think is just marvelous," she said. "And the actors are so good-they're just delightful."

While the district paid for the performance, the Williams Christian Homeschoolers paid for a student workshop that will take place Feb. 20 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the high school. Students can sign up for one of three sessions: Stage Combat, Performing Shakespeare's Text, and Developing Character through Improvisation.

"We don't have a drama class, but we do have a drama club and we're always looking for opportunities to expand our fine arts offerings for kids," Savage said.

A free showing of the movie version of "The Taming of the Shrew" will take place at 5 p.m. on Feb. 15 at Café 326 for people to familiarize themselves with the plot before seeing the play.


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