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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Young Theatre Bristol Director Tames 'The Shrew'

Karlee McGuire Dunham, in red, portrays Katherine, subjecting Victoria Burnette to her wrath in Theatre Bristol's production of
Karlee McGuire Dunham, in red, portrays Katherine, subjecting Victoria Burnette to her wrath in Theatre Bristol's production of "The Taming of the Shrew."

Glover is only 18 and a senior at Sullivan East High School


*** Published March 4 in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier. ***

BRISTOL, Tenn. Meet Emily Glover by way of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew."

Glover directs Theatre Bristol's production of the bard's 400-plus-year-old play, which opens on March 5 and runs through March 14 at Theatre Bristol's ARTspace in Bristol, Tenn.

Michael Locke and Karlee McGuire Dunham star as Petruchio and Katharine. They head an impressive cast of 14.

And once again, Glover directs.

"She has done her homework," said Emily Anne Thompson, Theatre Bristol's executive director. "She has had really good insight."

Glover is only 18 and a senior at Sullivan East High School. Add to that. This is Glover's directorial debut. There's more.

"As far as I know, she's the first high school student to direct a play at Theatre Bristol," said Chris McVey, Theatre Bristol sales director, publicist and actor.

Thompson paused on Tuesday night, moments before the commencement of a full dress rehearsal, and thought back.

"I've been here for 12 years," she said, "and I can't recall another high school student who has directed here."

Meanwhile, Glover carried on as if an old pro. Six weeks after auditions and rehearsals began and minutes before rehearsal on Tuesday, she talked a bit about the challenging play that heralds her debut.

"It's one of Shakespeare's bawdier shows," Glover said. "He used a lot of innuendo, some of which we kept and some we didn't keep. It's a strong story with strong characters and a lot of great humor."
Now, one might imagine a much easier play with which a high school student would make her directorial debut.

"Yeah, wow, jumping into Shakespeare," Thompson said, grinning.

Compound that with a cast aged 11 to 74. Glover, who has acted in such Theatre Bristol performances as last year's "Annie," said that her experience of serving as president of Theatre Bristol's youth advisory board has been of aid.

"A lot of responsibility was given to me as the president of the youth advisory board," she said. "I've tried to show them that I could be trusted with [directing]."

Michael Locke, who works as the offensive line coach for the varsity football team at Virginia High School and is an acting veteran, said working with Glover has proven smooth and enjoyable.

"When I first got into coaching, a fellow coach said you are experienced beyond your years," Locke said. "That's the way it is with Emily. She's experienced beyond her years. I've learned from every director I've worked with, and Emily is no different."

And so rehearsal began.

Glover grabbed a seat, put up her feet and with notebook and pen in hand observed. Two ceiling fans whirred at a whisper as the lights lowered and then went up on stage.

Moments into the play, Locke as Petruchio entered. With the shrew Katharine in his heart's sights, he proclaimed his will to marry her.

Petruchio proceeded to woo Katharine, and so forth they wind from the rocky to the romantic as he persuaded her to first marry and then obey him as he sought to "tame" her.

Humor? Laughs aplenty follow. Story? Captivating.

And Glover? She couldn't have been happier.

"This is my life," Glover said. "This is what I want to do. That's why I'm so excited to have an opportunity like this."

TOM NETHERLAND is a freelance writer. He can be reached at .

What: Theatre Bristol presents "The Taming of the Shrew"
When: March 5-6 and 12-13 at 8 p.m.; and March 14 at 2:30 p.m.
Where: Theatre Bristol's ARTspace, 512 State St., Bristol, Tenn.
Admission: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, $8 for children under age 12
Info: (423) 968-4977

A! ExtraTopics: Theatre