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The Taming

Beyond the absurdity of the presidential primaries and election campaign, the corporate media propaganda and fake polls, and the proprietary software of the electronic voting machines, there are a host of questions regarding the workability of the United States Constitution and what can be done to return our once sovereign nation, hijacked by the plutocrats, to the people. The Catamounts, as per their wildcat spirit, tackle these larger issues head-on in this imaginative script from Lauren Gunderson.

Laura Lounge as Katherine
Laura Lounge as Katherine
Photo: Michael Ensminger
Gunderson mixes and matches elements of American crass commercialism and pseudo-patriotic fervor, along with hard-nosed real politik and caricatures of the framers of the Constitution and their wives, topped off with some current radical reform ideology, to summon a hyperbolic vision of an antidote to our current madness.

Katherine (Laura Lounge) is an ambitious Miss Georgia with her sights on the Miss America crown, as a springboard to the Oval Office; Patricia (McPherson Horle) is a high-powered, power-hungry chief of staff to a conservative U.S. Senator with a big bill coming to the floor; and Bianca (Missy Moore) is a pugnacious, liberal social media savant and crusader.

Gunderson sets the stage nicely, providing circumstances for each of the three empowered women to bare her teeth: Katherine manhandling a TV director, Patricia dressing down an intern, and Bianca posting an incendiary Tweet to her two million subscribers. Then "the taming" begins when Patricia and Bianca find themselves locked in a hotel room with no phones. Who would do this to them?

(Left to right) Missy Moore as Bianca and McPherson Horle as Patricia
(L to R) Missy Moore as Bianca
and McPherson Horle as Patricia
Photo: Michael Ensminger
The opportunities for schtick abound in Gunderson's melodrama, and Horle, Lounge, and Moore take full advantage of these moments to milk the physical and emotional possibilities.

Can Petruchio, I mean Patricia, Katherine, and Bianca work together to save America? Save from whom, you might ask. From men. The patriarchs that run beauty pageants and wrote a constitution so compromised by compromise that it must be revamped, via a convention of the type described in Article V. While those suggesting that these provisions be used to revamp the U.S. Constitution have generally come from the far red end of the limited American political universe, there is no good reason why those on the far blue end couldn't use it, or the greens for that matter.

But that is beside the point: the Constitution doesn't need to be re-written; it needs to be enforced. Currently, those who have been in control of the state apparatus for much of the history of this country, have (illegally) suspended the Constitution, by passing such laws as the so-called "Patriot Act" and various addendums, which keep upping the ante on "government" surveillance of U.S. citizens. (The Constitution cannot be overridden by U.S. Code or Executive Order.) All of this, which became blatant under Bush—not to mention wars that violate the Geneva Convention—has only gotten worse with Obama, and it will continue along this same accellerating road after Clinton is appointed. Blue (equality) and Red (inequality) have been working together for a long time; after all, they are owned and operated by the same folks:

"We must go forward cautiously and consolidate each acquired position, because already the inferior social stratum of society is giving unceasing signs of agitation. Let us make use of the courts. When, through the law’s intervention, the common people shall have lost their homes, they will be more easy to control and more easy to govern, and they shall not be able to resist the strong hand of the Government acting in accordance with the control of the leaders of finance.

"We must keep the people busy with political antagonisms. We’ll therefore speed up the question of (fill in the blank) within the Democratic Party; and we’ll put the spotlight on (fill in the blank) [for] the Republican Party. By dividing the electorate in this way, we’ll be able to have them spend their energies at struggling amongst themselves on questions that, for us, have no importance whatsoever." —US Bankers magazine, 1892 (Sarah E. Van De Vort Emery, Imperialism in America: Its Rise and Progress, Emery & Emery, 1893, pp. 71-72, as quoted in the Chicago Daily Press)

The cornerstone of sovereignty is control over the creation of money. This is why the gold coins of the realm used to be called sovereigns, because they were issued by the sovereign authority; that is, whoever represents the state and the people. But in the United States, the power of the Congress to issue money and prohibit others from doing so, given in Article I, Sections 8 and 10, has been "overridden" by the bribing of the Congress during Christmas recess in 1913, and the subsequent passage of the Federal Reserve Act, which gave the power to create "legal tender" to a half dozen families, who still own the Fed.

Essentially, the current legal system in the United States and those who run it are part of a criminal organization that begins with the central banks and their corporations, and in which former nation-states around the world have become nothing more than public sector subsidiaries of the cartel, whose business model is fraud. The entire current construct of the "U.S. government" is, to use a legal term metaphorically, "fruit of the poisonous tree." The criminals are running the asylum, profiteering on war, healthcare, education, and anything else they can commandeer.

Rather than rewriting the Constitution, as Gunderson proposes, we would be better served by understanding why the Constitution is not being enforced. The movement to rewrite the Constitution is just one more distraction (as noted in the quote above, distraction is part of the cartel's strategy to control the people) to keep the people from understanding the root cause of global dysfunction: private control over money creation. Aristotle was on to this long ago:

“There should be a unity as measure that connects everything and this unity is the basic need. By agreement money represents the need and has its value not by nature, but by law. We can create it, change it, and put it out of circulation. Using money should work according to proportionality—this way all will receive what they need. Need connects people and organizes exchange of work and goods.” —Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Thus, much of what Gunderson covers in the comedic flashback to the original Constitutional Convention (1787)—where certain powerful forces brought about a federal consolidation, by replacing the Articles of Confederation, arguably illegally—is nothing more than "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," rather than focusing on the larger war waged for the last 500 years in Europe and the U.S.: the banks versus the people, capital versus labor. Hamilton gets a few puns poked at him, instead of recognizing his traitorous actions of selling the United States back to Britain via the First and Second Banks of the U.S., both of which were controlled by the (privately owned at that time) Bank of England.

Meanwhile, there is only one candidate out of four whose platform is to regain sovereignty via the nationalization of the Fed, and she in neither red nor blue, but green. So the notion of the ship of state getting righted by a "patriotic call" of unity between red and blue seems naive at best; or, Orwellian, if one considers that freedom is destroyed via the destruction of language and thought: in this case, the groupthink silos of the red-blue charade.

And then there is the question, "What has The Taming got to do with Shakespeare?," other than the titular allusion and character references. Apparently, the so-called feminist reversal of the outcome of the bard's plot is that Katherine gets revenge on her dutiful sister Bianca and her strong-willed husband Petrucio (in this case, Patricia), by ending up as the top dog. For all those who see the original, The Taming of the Shrew, as a sexist play, there will be some satisfaction in this, although as it turns out, Gunderson's take on Shakespeare is as conventional as her take on U.S. politics, judging from the mythology she has cooked up for us in The Book of Will, which will receive its world premiere at the Denver Center Theatre Company in January 2017.

The relationship between Petruchio and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew, and the relationship between Belch and Maria in Twelfth Night, are based on the playwright's (Edward de Vere, the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford) sister (Mary de Vere) and brother-in-law (Peregrine Bertie)—a real-life comedy which would have been recognized at court, where the play was first performed. To take this inside joke as misogynist propaganda is another case of thinking inside the box, in this case, the impossible Stratfordian timeline and confabulation. We have seen a number of productions of The Taming of the Shrew that have found ways to avoid what may seem sexist references to those who believe that an uneducated and functionally illiterate grain dealer from Stratford wrote the canon. In fact, the Induction to the play is one of de Vere's playful jokes on the Stratford man (although this part of the play is usually ignored and left unperformed by Stratfordians, since their prejudices prevent them from understanding the metaphor presented in these two scenes).

Despite the errant political and dramatic details on the part of Gunderson, the play, directed by Edith Weiss, is uptempo and the performances are a hoot. Above all, we applaud The Catamounts efforts in bringing up the question of what it will take to take back our country from the .00001% (and here and here).

The Catamounts presentation of The Taming runs through October 8th. For tickets: thecatamounts.org.

Bob Bows



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