As sisters go, having one nicknamed Katherine the Cursed isn’t the ideal family tree situation, especially when you aren’t allowed to marry until your sister does and your cursed sister has no interest in the blessed state of matrimony.

Bianca and Katherina navigate the tricky rapids of Elizabethan dating in Shakespeare’s sharpest romance, Taming of the Shrew.  Director Shana Cooper, straight from her Oregon Shakespeare Festival debut, gives Cal Shakes’ version a gorgeously physical realignment. Projected onto a high-fashion, pop-art society, Bianca’s tender romance is tinder to the flying sparks of Katherina and Petruchio’s battle of the sexes. 

Offering insight into how women carve out powerful roles for themselves within a patriarchal system, Taming of the Shrew plumbs gender roles as they pertain to romance.  But at its core, the story is two difficult people learning how to join their lives and what must be sacrificed in order to do so. Lessons that remain relevant hundreds of years later. 

September 21-October 16. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda. Tickets are $35-66 at 510-548-9666 or