’10 Things’ brings together comedy, feminism and the 1990s

Students Caroline Multerer, left, Hannah Friedman, second from left, Matt Medeiros, second from right, and Michelle Desien act in a comical scene in the adaptation of the well-known movie "10 Things I Hate About You." Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer
Students Caroline Multerer, left, Hannah Friedman, second from left, Matt Medeiros, second from right, and Michelle Desien act in a comical scene in the adaptation of the well-known movie “10 Things I Hate About You.” Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Liz Provencher.

At the Mount Vernon Campus’ Blackbox Theatre, members of 14th Grade Players channeled 1990s high school stereotypes to put on a laugh-out-loud rendition of “10 Things I Hate About You.”

The show, originally a 1999 film starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, is a modern take on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and was also turned into a television series in 2009. The director, senior Meg Stevenson, is a fan of both adaptations.

“I actually proposed ‘10 Things.’” Stevenson said. “At that point I had a very basic script but then did about five drafts over the summer.”

The story takes place at Padua High School, where the main character, Kat Stratford, is a student. Described by classmates as a “bitter, self-righteous hag,” Kat is the opposite of her younger sister, Bianca, a pretty and popular girl with many suitors. When their father won’t let Bianca date until Kat dates first (knowing this is unlikely because of Kat’s antisocial attitude), Bianca and her friends plot to set Kat up with the school’s “bad boy” Patrick Verona, who is rumored to have served time in jail and dated a Spice Girl.

Caroline Multerer, left, as Chastity and Hannah Friedman as Bianca Stratford have a sassy moment in the "10 Things I Hate About You" play. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer
Caroline Multerer, left, as Chastity and Hannah Friedman as Bianca Stratford have a sassy moment in the “10 Things I Hate About You” play. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer

Though there are challenges when it comes to reproducing a cult classic, Stevenson knew the audience would compare the play to the movie so she didn’t stray too far from the original plot. Stevenson’s script kept all of the classics, from Valley girl Bianca’s quip about her Prada backpack to high school guidance counselor Ms. Perky’s erotic novel.

However, Stevenson updated the play with a few minor changes, like more dialogue from Kat about feminism, to make the story more relevant to present day.

“The movie has these feminist undertones in it and I really tried to bring them up to the 2015 level,” she said.

Michelle Desien, a junior who played Kat, said that the abrasive character made for a challenging role.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get in that mindset because she’s just so mean,” she said. “But it’s kind of refreshing to be able to just be mean. You can never do that in real life.”

After the show ended, I left this blast from the past still smiling about butterfly clips and quirky love stories. If nothing else, go see ’10 Things I Hate About You’ for some backup dancing by Jon Weigell as Cameron James and Jeremy Neff as Michael Eckman.

Jon Weigell, left, Jeremy Neff, center, and Tommy Martin act as three of the main male characters in the play adapted from the popular 1999 movie. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer
Jon Weigell, left, Jeremy Neff, center, and Tommy Martin act as three of the main male characters in the play adapted from the popular 1999 movie. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Photographer

“10 Things I Hate About You” is playing Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Blackbox Theatre on the Mount Vernon Campus. Tickets are $5.

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