BATH — When you think of Shakespeare, do you imagine juggling, pratfalls and acrobatics? You will when director Dana Legawiec brings her carnivalesque “The Taming of the Shrew” outdoors next to the gazebo in Bath’s Library Park. Featuring professional actors and designers from Maine and across the country, the performances are being presented in conjunction with the Patten Free Library.

In Shakespeare’s comedy, “Kate the Curst” meets her match in the macho, unpredictable Petruchio. Kate’s little sister Bianca has no shortage of suitors, but her father will not allow Bianca to marry until he finds a husband for wild, disobedient Kate. The comedy erupts as Kate and Petruchio playfully and often literally wrestle for power — dragging suitors, fathers, sister, servants and possibly the audience into the fray. The circus-theme production will appeal to adults and kids alike.

Shakespeare frames “Shrew” as a play-within-a-play. In this production, Director Legawiec situates the story of the play within a traveling troupe of circus performers. Performed in the Library Park in the round, without a backstage, audiences will be treated to layers of delight as the circus performers navigate the story, characters and costume changes while simultaneously negotiating power dynamics “backstage.”

The physical comedy inherent in this early Shakespeare play makes it ideal for a theatrical treatment featuring live music, juggling, acrobatics and especially clowning. Legawiec’s concept calls for performers who are not only actors, but possess actual circus skills, making it unique among all the productions that the festival has staged over the last seven years.

Legawiec received her training at the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre in California, where she learned clowning, Commedia and physical theater styles. She recently graduated with a master of education, arts in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Featured in the cast is Jared Mongeau, also a Dell’Arte graduate and former clown with Circus Smirkus and Ringling Brothers. He will play the comic servant Tranio, whose outrageous disguises contribute to the chaos. Mongeau is also clowning consultant for the production.

“It’s creatively very exciting to bring my clowning experience to Shakespeare,” says Mongeau. “I am also thrilled to collaborate with other actors with diverse performing backgrounds to bring this amazing play to life. It’s extremely fulfilling to use and share my love of clowning in ways even I didn’t expect to, to bring the story to a deeper place.”

“The Taming of the Shrew” will be presented outdoors at Library Park on July 11, 13, 14, 18, 20 and 21. All performances begin at 6 p.m. The performance is suitable for children. General admission is $22; seniors/students, $17; and kids 16 or under, $5. Opening night will feature a special pay-what-you-can performance.

Tickets are on sale at, by calling 207-854-8882 or at the theater one hour prior to each performance, depending on availability. Free parking is available in the Patten Free Library parking lot or on the street as allowed. For more information, visit

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