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Meet ‘Taming’ actress Lisa Kuchinski


tame-this-04On stage now in the Foulds Theater is Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Lauren Gunderson’s The Taming. It’s a three-person play in which Lisa Kuchinski plays the role of a red-state political aide by the name of Patricia.

Kuchinski is a joy to watch. She embodies the smart, overworked tightly-wound conservative operative who is the brains behind the senator for whom she works. She is no Tea Party caricature. This one understands the necessity of working across the aisle, and in the role of James Madison, she morphs into the playwright’s mouthpiece in reminding the audience of the founding father’s ability and willingness to accept unsavory tame-this-10political positions including slavery and the electoral college in order to create the framework for a democracy that has endured for more than 200 years.

The Taming is a farce, and the success of this production rests on the ability of Kuchinski and her counterpart, a cranky liberal blogger played by Anna Grilli, to go fast and furious from the opening scene in an Atlanta hotel room all the way tame-this-13to the curtain 90 minutes later. As this is a play about people who are unwilling to listen to each other in their haste to advance their own political view and agenda, pacing takes on the importance of a fourth character. And as a consequence, when there is a lull or pause in the dialogue and action, the audience knows something important is about to happen. In this way, the pauses help advance the story and guide the action.

tame-this-16This play thrives on tension, and not all of it inheres in the opposing red state-blue state polemics that Gunderson delights in excoriating. Aided by double entendres and ample woman on woman on woman physicality, the homoerotic sexual tension that exists between Pat, Kat and Bianca is palpable.

This is purposeful. “I wanted to keep [Taming of the Shrew’s] weird sexual connection between gender and power—politics too is all about power, constitutional-convention-05the aphrodisiac and bravado of power,” explains Lauren Gunderson. “Whoever controls the Senate comes out with this swagger of ‘suck my dick’ and that’s the tone of how they do their business, just like Petruchio goes about his business in Shrew. I wanted to work within that same sexually-charged atmosphere to create a sensual, sexy play… without men.”

While Kuchinski has the unenviable task of being asked to perform throughout much of this play without pants, Gunderson does endow Kuchinski’s character with the aptitude for articulating the play’s condemnation of the numerous constitutional-convention-12hypocrisies endemic in our current political system.

The Taming represents Lisa Kuchinski’s Theatre Conspiracy debut. Some of her most memorable roles around Southwest Florida include Harriet in Wonderful Life (at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre), Gilmer in Godspell (for Herb Strauss Theatre), Sandra in Godspell (for Theatre Zone/FGCU), Roz in Moon over Buffalo, Liat in South Pacific, and Helene in Sweet Charity at untamed-16Cultural Park. A singer and dancer, Lisa has also performed in Chicago, Peter Pan and Jersey Girls. You may also periodically find Lisa performing on the Murder Mystery Train or volunteering at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. Lisa holds a Bachelors in Theatre Arts from Florida Gulf Coast University.

October 15, 2016.


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