Richard Hamburger

This ‘Shrew’ is bellissimo
Outgoing artistic director Richard Hamburger revels in odd brilliance

By Mark Lowry / Star-Telegram

DALLAS -- The Italians have gone wild at Dallas Theater Center, and I’m not talking only about the characters in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Director Richard Hamburger, in his last directing gig as artistic director of DTC, and designers David Zinn (scenic), Clint Ramos (costumes) and David Weiner (lighting), seem to take cues from a number of imaginatively off-the-wall Itals, most notably Federico Fellini -- with a dash of Pirandello, Versace and Dario Fo.

Their vision of Shrew is as wacky as the surrealist European commercials that Americans watch on compilation programs and go, “Hmmm.”

But what’s brilliant about it is that, amid all the eye-popping, hyper-everything visuals (stuffed pigeons, doors painted in Italian flag colors, snow inside Petruchio’s bachelor pad), the aspects that matter most -- language, characters and story -- don’t get lost in translation.

One could go on for days about the marvelous portrayals of Lucentio (Noel Velez), Tranio (Bryant Mason), Gremio (John Woodson, made up to look like an infirm Liberace), Hortensio (Chamblee Ferguson), Grumio (Jakie Cabe) and Bianca (Jessica D. Turner). The latter three, especially, exhibit spot-on comedic timing.

Then there’s Jonno Roberts, who manages rakish charm, rock-star sexiness and subtle sensitivity with his Petruchio. Mary Bacon’s Kate looks and snarls like a hybrid of rockers Wendy O. Williams and Pat Benatar with former wrestler Chyna, all of which gives Hamburger a way to lessen the controversy of taking desperate measures to tame Kate.

This is another triumph this director’s fresh interpretations of the Bard. No matter what anyone thought of Hamburger and his productions, he -- like this Shrew -- won’t be forgotten.


© Richard Hamburger, Theater Director      Site design and maintenance by Amy Lacy.