Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#WIPitUP - 6/15/16 - Acting Lessons - Peter directs Kate in the spanking scene #KissMeKate

WIP: Work in progress.  WIP it up Wednesday is a hop where writers share portions of the project they're working on with readers.  I really like the idea because it allows me to share something that's still in the creative stage as well as work behind the scenes as a prompt to keep me writing.

So, I want to continue sharing "Lessons in Love" with you, but today, I'm also going to share a snippet from my 5th spanking book, Acting Lessons, loosely based on the story of Kiss Me Kate. So, it's another two-fer from me.

He was a strict and demanding college professor turned professional director who excelled at giving acting lessons.  She was his shy and uncertain former student who became a professional actress under his tutelage.  They fell in love, married, and won two Tony Awards before tragedy struck and a simple kiss ripped them apart.

After a six month separation, Peter Thorton decides to take matters into his own hands by making his famous wife, Kate, an offer she wouldn't refuse.  Plainly put, he wants her back and he intends to do whatever is necessary to achieve his goal, even if it means giving his stubborn, willful leading lady a daily reminder over his knee that she promised to obey him.

In this scene, which occurs two-thirds into the book, Peter Thorton is directing his wife and some college students in a production of Kiss Me Kate and they've reached the famous spanking scene near the end of the musical. Though Peter spanks Kate in real life, she's done everything she can to get him to cut this scene, because spankings are intense, intimate and extremely personal for her and she doesn't want one on-stage. Peter, however, assures her the stage spanking will be nothing like the real ones he gives her, and the scene is essential to the story, so it can't be cut. Kate reluctantly agrees to try despite her severe misgivings, so Peter orders the actors to take their places. 

If you're unfamiliar with the musical, Kiss Me Kate is a play within a play about a recently divorced couple attempting to put on a production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. In this scene, Tom is filling in for Peter as Lilli's husband actor/director Fred Graham who is also acting the role of Petruchio. Kate plays the actress Lilli Vanessi who is acting the role of Katharine. So, Peter, who is currently directing the scene, refers to the actors by their Shakespeare characters' names as well as their Kiss Me Kate characters' names in addition to their "real" names. Baptista is the name Shakespeare gave Katharine's father. Confused? Hopefully the scene below in Peter's POV will help make it clear. 

             "All right.  Baptista, enter from the doorway on your line."
            Baptista entered shaking his head.  "Twas not to her liking, I fear."
            Tom read Petruchio's lines a little too hesitantly, so Peter stopped to coach him.  "More confidence and swagger, less uncertainty, Petruchio.  You know what you're doing, and you have a plan to woo Katharine.  Go on."
            When Kate's Katharine stormed across the stage, Tom's Petruchio gasped, raised his hands to protect his face and took a step back."
            Chuckling, Peter stepped forward to clap the student on the shoulder while he motioned for Kate to return to her entrance point.  "Okay, Fred wouldn't be afraid of Lilli in this scene, but he would be concerned.  This isn't her cue to enter, and yet here she is, and she is verily pissed at him since she's discovered the flowers he claimed were for her, were in truth meant for Lois.  Woman scorned and all that.  But remember, Fred, you were married to Lilli.  You're well acquainted with her temper tantrums, so you'd be on guard, especially for flying objects.  Even so, you would never show fear, not if you ever hoped to gain the upper hand.
            "Better yet, try catching the bouquet she flings at you, and set the flowers on the table rather than toss them aside.  The damning card she rips up and tosses at you, however, is so much confetti, so let it go.  The evidence of your lie is not your biggest concern at this point, managing Lilli is.  You're also an experienced actor who knows how to ad lib, so exchange a concerned or confused look with Baptista to make it clear your first few lines are off script until Lilli picks up her cue.  However, none of her slaps and punches are scripted, which is why Fred keeps giving her sotto voce warnings.  Those should be delivered through gritted teeth.  Clear?"
            "Yes, Mr. Thorton," Tom said, his cheeks pink with embarrassment.  Though Peter could understand the student being a little unnerved by an angry Broadway star going at him full tilt, he needed Tom to stay in character.

Kate may be a professional, but there are some things that are just too personal to share with an audience. However, she also feels sorry for Tom. He's just a student, and Peter can be a tough director.
M/F, DD and a staged production of Kiss Me, Kate.

If you're 18 or older, you can read the first three chapters at Acting Lessons

Buy the book directly from Blushing BooksAmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords


  1. I enjoyed this Kathryn, and think I kept up lol. Peter definitely knows what he wants from his actors.


  2. Nice scene, Kathryn. Why do I have the feeling that Kate is going to get herself in a bunch of trouble? LOL!

  3. I think Pete is doing an admirable job keeping his cast in line. His biggest problem I suspect will be Katharine, but that's half the fun of it - right? ;)

  4. Great snippet. He gives great stage direction.


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