Carla Lerner – Tranio, Ensemble
I just finished my third rehearsal of Taming and the whole cast has taken me on, out of nowhere, without skipping a beat. I’m having a blast and (perhaps shamefully) am grateful that someone dropped, because being a part of this process is fascinating.
The Taming of the Shrew is a tricky show for the modern woman, which makes me doubly grateful to be working on it with an all-female cast. Even if we are not “shrews,” every person in the room lives with the cultural expectation of docility. I’m grateful for that shared experience, because I think it gives us greater license to look at the aspects of this play that tend to stick in our throats. It also helps that Monica, our Katherina, is an utter powerhouse.
But, I suppose I should be writing more about my own part. So, Tranio. This friggin guy. What a trouble maker. One of my favorite things in life is when, somehow or other, a role lands in my lap that it never would have occurred to me to play. It’s an incredible opportunity for growth and experimentation. Tranio exists in such a different physical space than I do. As a petite lady, it’s so great to play with his bawdiness, his extravagance, the GUYness of him. I’ve played a lot of dudes in my time, but some males are just extra plus male and Tranio is one of them. He’s wonderfully large. My current goal is to push it to the point where Kate asks me to dial it back. I do not know if this is possible. Also, Tranio and Lucentio have a secret handshake and it is the BEST.
Exploring Tranio has been making me think a lot about disguises, about our everyday masks and about code-switching. Tranio, Lucentio, and Hortensio wear the most blatant disguises, but I’m starting to feel like this whole play is an exploration of how we reconcile our nature with the role we’re given at birth, and of the different roles we take on to get what we want.