The Manning of the Dude

A twist on Taming of the Shrew. In this tale, Petruchio is stuck in arrested development; Kate is interested in fixer-uppers and is probably the only one up for the task.

Running time: approximately 8 minutes

Cast size: 2 Males, 3 Females, 1 M/F

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CHARACTERS

KATHERINE (F) decides to “man-up” Petruchio

PETRUCHIO (M) boy who refuses to leave the nest and become a man

BIANCA (F) friend to Katherine, in love with Lucentio

LUCENTIO (M) brother to Petruchio, in love with Bianca

GEPPITA (F) Petruchio’s mother

NARRATOR (M/F) yeah, the usual: narrates the action

 

SAMPLE PAGES:

(Lights up. Enter NARRATOR.)

NARRATOR:  Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  Tonight we give you our version of Shakespeare’s classic battle of the sexes in that well-known play The Taming of the Shrew.  Of course, since ours is about the taming of a man, we call this The Manning of the Dude.  Our scene begins in Padua; Geppita, a rich widow, is brought glorious news by her son.  (GEPPITA enters and is greeted excitedly by LUCENTIO, who leads BIANCA by the hand.)

LUCENTIO:  Mother, I have glorious news.

GEPPITA:  What is that, son?

LUCENTIO:  Bianca has consented to marry me.

GEPPITA:  Ah, son, say it isn’t so!  You have violated the customs of Padua.

LUCENTIO:  But I asked Bianca’s father’s permission first.

GEPPITA:  That’s not it.

LUCENTIO:  I made sure I had a stable job before I asked her.

GEPPITA:  Yes, you were always good with horses . . .

NARRATOR:  But that’s not it.

LUCENTIO:  (To NARRATOR.) I made it Facebook official?

NARRATOR:  That’s not it.  Before you can marry—

GEPPITA: Your elder brother must be married first.

(NARRATOR exits.)

LUCENTIO:  You don’t mean I have to wait for (PETRUCHIO enters, unshaven, unwashed, and unkempt.  He wears tights with his boxers hanging out the top.) Petruchio?

PETRUCHIO:  Ah, six o’clock!  What a glorious time to arise!  The birds are singing sweetly.  The world has a dewy newness.  And what’s that I smell?  Breakfast?

GEPPITA:  Supper.

PETRUCHIO:  Close enough.

BIANCA:  You are just now getting up?

PETRUCHIO:  One does not seize the winner’s wreath through half-measures.  I was up all night dueling blackguards, saving damsels, and bringing wrong-doers to justice.

BIANCA:  Oh, you are on the city’s night watch?

LUCENTIO:  He was playing World of Warcraft.

GEPPITA:  (Admonishing.)  Petruchio, there is a lady present.  Pull up your tights!

PETRUCHIO:  I can’t help it.  These tights are loose.  (To audience.) Talk about your oxymorons.

GEPPITA:  And your hat is on backwards.

PETRUCHIO:  (Pulls off his muffin hat and examines it.)  How can you tell?

GEPPITA:  And put on a clean shirt!

PETRUCHIO:  Mother.  (Wags finger.)  Whose fault is it that my dirty laundry is still on the floor?  (GEPPITA sputters.)  Don’t worry, mother.  I forgive you.  Well, I’ve got to get to work.

GEPPITA:  You’ve got a job finally?

PETRUCHIO:  Nothing as lowly as a job.  I’ve got a career!  A vocation!  A passion!

LUCENTIO:  Do you get paid?

PETRUCHIO:  If you mean something as crass as filthy lucre, then no.  I get paid in self-fulfillment and self-expression. I’m in a band.  We’ve got a rehearsal.  We are playing music by this new composer named Bach.

LUCENTIO:  Bach?  Never heard of him.

PETRUCHIO:  You will.  We play his music on top of a wagon.  We call it “Bach and Roll.”  (PETRUCHIO exits.)

LUCENTIO:  Alas, my love is thwarted.  What woman in her right mind would ever marry (Points.) that?

BIANCA:  I have a friend . . .

GEPPITA:  Yes?

BIANCA:  Her name is Katherine.  Petruchio might just be her type.

LUCENTIO:  Katherine likes immature, selfish boys?

BIANCA:  Katherine likes a fixer-upper.  Let’s have a double date at the pub.

(GEPPITA & LUCENTIO exit. NARRATOR enters. BIANCA crosses to table; KATHERINE enters.)

NARRATOR:  And so, Bianca convinced Katherine to go with her to listen to some Bach & Roll. Later that night, at a pub called The Pickled Snout, Katherine and Bianca awaited Petruchio and Lucentio. (Exits.)

KATHERINE:  (Takes a seat.) So, when does this Bach band start anyway?

BIANCA: (With an eye toward the door.) Soon, I hope.

KATHERINE: Are you expecting someone?

BIANCA: Well, it’s interesting that you really like Bach & Roll.  Lucentio is friends with one of the members of the band.  He’s coming with him tonight.

KATHERINE: (Moment of recognition.)  Oh, no.  Is this another blind date?

Katherine & Petruchio finally meet. . .

BIANCA:  And this is my friend, Katherine.

PETRUCHIO:  Oh.  (Appraises her.) 

LUCENTIO:  Katherine Minola.

PETRUCHIO:  Minola?  As in Lord Minola, the King’s tax collector?

KATHERINE:  Yes.

PETRUCHIO:  You’re wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice.

KATHERINE:  What does that have to do with—

PETRUCHIO:  You’ll do.

KATHERINE:  (Appraises him.)  I wish I could say the same.

PETRUCHIO:  Kate—

KATHERINE:  Katherine.

PETRUCHIO:  No, I prefer to call you Kate.

KATHERINE:  Because you can only handle really small words?

PETRUCHIO:  (Appraises her anew.)  Smart and sassy.  Not usually my type.

KATHERINE:  You usually go for dim and compliant?

PETRUCHIO:  I don’t know.  We never usually get around to conversation.  Speaking of which, let’s cut to the chase.  Shall we go to your place?

LUCENTIO:  Petruchio!

PETRUCHIO:  (Waving LUCENTIO away.)  I’m busy, brother dear.  Why don’t you take your future ball and chain and hold hands in the moonlight or something?

LUCENTIO:  Leave you alone with this young lady?  I think not!

KATHERINE:  (Puts her hand on LUCENTIO’s arm.)  I’m fine.  Go.

LUCENTIO:  But if you are in any danger—

KATHERINE:  It’s your brother you should worry about.

PETRUCHIO:  (Appraises her anew again.)  Smart, sassy, and . . . dangerous. . . .