Shrew That, a new literary web series, is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, shot at and near Monmouth College in Illinois. We recently had a chance to get the scoop on the show from co-creators Katie Struck and Rachel Laing.

BookTrib: So what’s the premise?

Shrew That: Shrew That is a modern re-envisioning of The Taming of the Shrew told from the perspective of two sisters, Bianca and Kate Baptista, who are also roommates at Padua University. A new transfer, Bianca attends a fraternity party to make friends, and is inundated with attention from the boys. She escapes by mentioning her father’s rule from her high school years that she cannot date until her sister does.

BT: Choosing to portray Bianca as asexual is brilliant take on the character.

ST: The way Shakespeare wrote her it seemed that in modern times she would read as asexual.  Rachel, who plays her, is ace, and is proud to bring authenticity to the role.

Two people

Rachel Laing and Katie Struck

ST: Katie was doing a project in her Shakespeare class on The Taming of the Shrew. It was about the time that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was airing and she thought it would be neat to put together a series like that with her roommate, Rachel. Due to time constraints, we tabled the project for about a year. The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy re-inspired us to go back to it.

BT: Tell us a little about the creative team.

ST: Katie is the co-creator, writer, director, and plays Kate Baptista. She and Kate are different, but they share a love of reading and Joss Whedon shows. She is passionate about the gender and sexuality minorities community, friends, and family.

Rachael is co-creator, script editor, set designer, and Bianca Baptista.  Although new to film, she brings six years of set design experience. Her favorite things include comics, reading, museums, colorful socks, Hugs (the candy), hugs (the action), and traveling.


BT: What were the challenges in translating a Shakespeare play into the 21st century?

ST: So many of Shakespeare’s characters are caricatures. Perhaps the most difficult part of the process was creating realistic and likeable people that an audience could recognize, but also find someone new. Our goal was a story that made sense with authentic people.

BT: Is there anything else you would like people to know about this series?

ST: We basically filmed this show out of our pocket. If we had a bigger budget, we joked that Bianca would have had a bionic arm. A lot of the work done in the early production of the show was when Rachael was doing a semester studying in Scotland, so she was editing the script between writing papers. We are so happy to have worked with the talented and tireless cast and crew.

Watch new episodes of Shrew That on Wednesday and Fridays.


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