Real-life couple Julia Nish-Lapidus (left) and James Wallis get physical for their Taming Of The Shrew.
Julia Nish-Lapidus had never heard a cheesier first-date line.
Three years ago, James Wallis took her out and said at the end of the evening that he'd always wanted to stage Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew in a bar. He wanted Nish-Lapidus to play Kate to his Petruchio.
Fast-forward to this summer's Fringe, where the two are performing those roles in a production by Shakespeare BASH'd at the Victory Café. And the two actors are getting married this fall.
"The show lends itself to a bar setting," says Nish-Lapidus, "because it's loud, crazy, and the characters are extreme types. It's also written as a play-within-a-play, and our production turns the actors into a group of players who regularly perform at the Victory."
Shrew fits into the company's mandate to focus on text and allow the Bard's story and words rather than production values to drive the action. Previously, Shakespeare BASH'd has staged readings of Romeo And Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Nish-Lapidus sees her partnering with Wallis following the pattern of other offstage couples playing the initially warring Kate and Petruchio, among them Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
"The characters are an honest, real-life couple, each seeing the faults in the other; neither is happy accepting what society considers to be a proper mate. Petruchio recognizes that they're suited to each other, and Kate comes to that viewpoint by the end of the play."
What about Kate's famously difficult speech at the end, where she talks about the duty owed a husband?
"At the play's start, she's angry, cold, frustrated and sad, not valued in her world. Petruchio teaches her that she has value, strength and independence, both alone and with him. That final speech, I think, is heartfelt and loving, a realization that the two are committed to a real partnership."
From July 5 at the Victory Café (581 Markham)