Playwright Lauren Gunderson, winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, has waived the fee for the rights to perform her work “The Taming” (informed by Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”) to anyone who will perform the play on Inauguration Day.
One such Jan. 20 performance will be put on by ArkansasStaged at Bentonville’s 21c Museum Hotel, 7 p.m., with a suggested donation of $5 to benefit Planned Parenthood. The self-described “all-female political farce” tells the story of Katherine, a winner of the Miss Georgia pageant who “locks herself in a hotel room with two captive political opposites
— one ultra-conservative senator's aide on the cusp of a career breakthrough and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause — and coerces them to jump-start a movement to rewrite the Constitution.”
Gunderson said in a press release that she wrote the play in 2013 “to unpack the deep frustration of a divided and obstructionist patriarchy... to laugh with the painful truth about extremism on both sides, to toy with our country’s history and wrestle with its foundational imperfections, and to make manifest a dream of reason and understanding prevailing in America. That feels more necessary now than three years ago.”
University of Arkansas theater instructor Jenny McKnight will direct the ArkansasStaged production. “Transfers of political power are always fraught with a measure of uncertainty, never more than this year,” McKnight said. “We’re hoping to have some laughs, illuminate some truths and find a hopeful and uplifting way to end a momentous day.”