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  • Prison Performing Arts

Meet Playwright Katharine Cognard-Black

I am absolutely thrilled to see ‘Shrew(s)’ be brought to life again. When I was creating this show, the heart of the process was collaborating with my actors. I wanted to make a space for us and our audience to come together, not only to explore but also to question and talk back to the gender dynamics in Shakespeare’s play. I am honored that my play can serve as a framework for the women at WERDCC to examine Shakespeare’s text and to share their personal interpretations of this challenging play.

Katharine Cognard-Black is a recent graduate of Bucknell University, majoring in Theatre and Creative Writing and minoring in French.

She is a writer, actor, and director, with expertise in Shakespeare and adaptation.

Taming of the Shrew(s) was written and directed by Katharine in her final year at Bucknell University. The play was born out of her fascination with Shakespeare, and especially of Taming of the Shrew.

Katharine is compelled by how changeable Shakespeare’s texts are—for instance how Taming has language that supports both deeply misogynistic readings of the text and yet also feminist ones.

In an attempt to engage with this complexity, Katharine created Taming of the Shrew(s) to explore just how much the text could change with distinct intonations, actors, and power dynamics between the central characters, Petruchio and Katherine.

She edited Shakespeare’s original text down to a thirty-minute show that was presented three different times, with three different sets of actors, and three distinct interpretations.

Creating this play was a collaborative process that combined editing Shakespeare’s original text and also generating new text through “devising”: a creative process of ensemble-based playwriting.

RSVPs close on Monday, June 6.

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