Heniford, Lewis W. (American educator, author, director, playwright, 1928-____ ), “Shrew You; or, Who Hath Need of Men? As Goode Accounte As Anye Knowne Describing How Sweet Shagsper Shuffles Off His Mortal Coil,”
a 30-minute fantasy-comedy, set in an afterlife anteroom, April 23, anno Domini 1616, and a room in Baptista's house, Padua, Italy, 1592,
2m2f or 1m3f,
© 1990 by Lewis W. Heniford; script/rights available from Lewis W. Heniford, P. O. Box 299, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California 93921, telephone 408-624-6960, fax when alerted 408-624-1164; Heniford says,
§ Dramatis Personae Madame Mnemosyne (f), 2500-plus years old, lively, mother of nine muses; Wm(ina) Shagsper (m or f), 52, a near-female dead author; Petruchio (m), 21 and 45, suitor and husband; Katharine (f), 17 and 41, shrew and ex-shrew wife.
§ Synopsis “Newly dead, Shagsper arrives at the wrong spiritual processing room. He learns from Madame Mnemosyne, the attendant, that in this experimental afterlife Zeus has all beings remain or become female. Shagsper abhors losing his manhood, even in death. The attendant refers him to Zeus but warns that he must have a good case for any request. To frame a solid case, Shagsper calls up his lovers from The Taming of the Shrew. Petruchio embodies manhood, and certainly Katharine needs him, as the play goes. The two, though somewhat older now, reenact their famous meeting scene. Madame Mnemosyne records it with a crystal ball, thereby arming Shagsper with his evidence that men are necessary. Shagsper thanks the audience for its attention and departs to plead his case to Zeus.
§ Comment “This script, using the style of James M. Barrie’s stage directions, talks as much to the actors as to the audience; much of the fun is in the stage directions. Shakespeariana, especially apocryphal tales of his death, and Greek ideas of afterlife here require comic perspective. The scenery is minimal, suggestive of both an ancient scriptorium suitable for a personnel processing room and a room in Baptista's house, Padua, 1592, from The Taming of the Shrew, Act II, scene i, by William Shakespeare. Many props are vital to the comedy. Mnemosyne must have minimal tap-dancing skills. Actors must speak comfortably the frequent iambic pentameter. • Can pair with ‘An Odious Damnéd Lie,’ a comedy-drama, 1m1f; or ‘Love's Light Wings,’ a drama, 2m2f). • A staged reading was held at Western Stage, Salinas, California, U.S.A., in 1993. Productions of "Shrew You . . ." include a one-act play festival at Oklahoma Central University, Edmond, Oklahoma, U.S.A., May 1, 1997, and the International Fringe, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., 1999.”
1616, afterlife, crystal ball, death, drum, evidence, experiment, family,
first encounter, gender, graceful aging, Greek mythology, Italy, Katharine,
London, love, manhood, Mnemosyne, other woman, Padua, petition, Petruchio,
processing room, recording, reenactment, sexuality, Shagsper (William Shakespeare,
English poet and playwright, 1564-1616), spirit, Stratford-on-Avon, The
Taming of the Shrew, tap dancing, Zeus.
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