ArkansasStaged to Present Special Inauguration Day Reading of “The Taming”

ArkansasStaged to Present Special Inauguration Day Reading of “The Taming”
Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

A certain presidential inauguration coming up got you down? The folks behind ArkansasStaged may have just the antidote.

ArkansasStaged, a local theatre production group that presents readings of plays in unorthodox spaces, presents a special Inauguration Day reading of The Taming by Lauren Gunderson at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 at 7 p.m.

Gunderson, a notable playwright, has offered the rights to produce the 2013 play for free, as long as it is performed on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

“In 2013 I wrote The Taming to unpack the deep frustration of a divided and obstructionist patriarchy,” she said. “To laugh with the painful truth about extremism on both sides, to toy with our country’s history and wrestle with its foundational imperfections, and to make manifest a dream of reason and understanding prevailing in America. That feels more necessary now than three years ago.”

The local reading will be directed by Jenny McKnight, an instructor in the theatre department at the University of Arkansas. The cast consists of actors Amanda Bobo as Katherine/George and Martha Washington/Dolley Madison, Rachel Burkevich as Patricia/James Madison and Emily Geller as Bianca/Charles Pinckney as well as an ensemble of female musicians and singers. Celeste Richard is stage managing.

“I’m really enjoying working with the three actresses,” McKnight said. “I didn’t know any of them before. They’re all incredibly smart and very brave. I think we’re all having a good time digging into the satire and the language of the play and the modes of speech. It’s a serious topic, but handled in an irreverent way.”

The Taming promises to be an entertaining, witty, all-female “power-play” inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in which Katherine, the super-patriotic Miss Georgia, has something bigger in mind for the Miss America pageant than winning a crown.

Katherine plans to overhaul the government and get it working for everybody again. To pull off her revolution, she locks herself in a hotel room with two captive political opposites—one ultra-conservative senator’s aide on the cusp of a career breakthrough, and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause. Kat then coerces them to jump-start a movement to rewrite the Constitution — with a semi-historically accurate ether trip and some constitutional energy from our Founding Fathers to fuel their journey.

“Transfers of political power are always fraught with a measure of uncertainty, never more than this year,” McKnight said. “Playwright Lauren Gunderson finds the humor, the ridiculousness, and the common ground in her play — we’re hoping to have some laughs, illuminate some truths, and find a hopeful and uplifting way to end a momentous day.”

The performance is free with a suggested donation of $5. The proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood. For complete information, visit:

“I think there are people who are feeling trepidatious about the inauguration and the next four years,” McKnight said. “This play and its performance offers a little bit of an alternate experience in that it’s a little bit of a fantasy.”


Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:00 p.m. Run time: approx. 90 minutes


21c Museum Hotel: 200 NE A Street, Bentonville, AR 72712

Discounted room rates: 479.286.6500 code: ARSTAGED


FREE with a suggested donation of $5. A percentage of the proceeds to benefit Planned Parenthood.

ARKANSASTAGED Season at 21c Hotel in Bentonville

Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.

The Taming by Lauren Gunderson directed by Jenny McKnight

May 21 at 7 p.m.

Grounded by George Brandt

Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.

Collected Stories by Donald Marguiles directed by Morgan Hicks

Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.

Empanada Loca by Aaron Mark directed by Cole Wimpee featuring Guadalupe Campos

Categories: Galleries