The Taming of La Shrew
Translation/Adaptation by: Edgar Landa
Directed by: Colin Cox
Will & Company (Los Angeles, CA) - 1993
The Taming of La Shrew (1993)
by Edgar Landa
Colin Cox founded Will & Company in 1991 in Los Angeles, CA and received its non-profit status in 1993. In the early 90's, Will & Company took up residence at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC) building where it remained until approximately 2005. The company presented productions on the large LATC stages. Additionally, the resident ensemble of actors performed 45-minute adaptations of Shakespeare and classic stories for K-12 students throughout Southern California via the Los Angeles County Music Center Education program.
The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located in downtown L.A. Taming of La Shrew was an attempt to serve the broader Spanish-speaking population of Los Angeles and specifically the Spanish-speaking residents of the DTLA area. Two versions of the play were presented on alternating nights - one in Spanish and one in English. At the time, it was believed that Will & Company would be the first Los Angeles-based theatre company to present Shakespeare in Spanish in L.A.
The play ran at the LATC from October 28 – November 21, 1993, and it was directed by Colin Cox (who also played Petruchio) and assisted by Benito Martinez. The translation by Edgar Landa used several existing Castilian Spanish versions of the play as the basis for his version which needed to have a Mexican Spanish flavor for the Alta California (circa 1840's) setting of the production. It was important to eliminate any Castilian phrasing, words, and syntax from the translation.
The cast included six Spanish speakers as well as a deaf actor (who played Biondello) who signed his text (in ASL and Mexican Sign Language depending on the performance). The actors who didn't speak Spanish fluently (or at all) began to learn Spanish months in advance of the rehearsal process. The Alta California setting allowed for a variety of accents and a diversity of actors to inhabit the world of the play. Petruchio was from Vancouver (rather than Verona), Kate was the daughter of a land-owning ranchero, Gremio was a French fur trapper, Lucentio was a Black American from the United States (which did not include the Southwest at the time) and Hortensio was a remnant of the Spanish settlers that inhabited the territory.
Scenic Design by Cynthia Shiley; Costume Design by Muriel McEwan
Baptista - Ruben Garfias; Katherine - Patrice Martinez; Petruchio - Colin Cox; Grumio - Benita Martinez; Curtis - Edgar Landa; Bianca - Trula Marcus; Gremio - Mark Kilburn; Hortensio - Armando Ortega; Lucentio - Gregg Daniel; Tranio - Philip Lester; Biondello - Larry Whitt; Vincenzio - Mark Nakagawa; Widow - Benito Martinez
 An interesting side note is that Benito, Patrice, and Benita are siblings who started their careers in Albuquerque at La Compañia de Teatro de Albuquerque, which was co-founded by their mother, Margarita Martinez. Benito went on to star in the television series, The Shield, and has appeared in numerous television and film projects. Patrice and Benita played the sisters in the 1986 film, ¡Three Amigos!