Half a lifetime ago I did English and Drama at A-level in school. Each year, we put on two shows, one modern on Shakespeare. In the upper sixth, we had a new head of English, Miss West. Rather than the traditional school favourites of Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet, she decided on The Taming of the Shrew. Casting was done and I was cast as Petruchio whilst the school hottie, Rachel, was cast as Katherine. I’ll be honest at this point; I did not know why I was getting all sorts of winks, smiles and you lucky bast**d comments. I had read the original work. However, when the script was given to me I spotted, with surprise, we were doing the modern version with the spanking scene. Now that all made sense.
Rehearsals got underway at the end of August with the play scheduled for the week where primary schools would be staging the nativity; what a contrast. Rachel and I had been at primary school together and although we were never that close, we had been at the same parties and been in the same classes through school, so playing opposite her would not be a worry. Well, apart from that infamous spanking scene, that is.
One night after rehearsals, Rachel asked me to walk with her on our way home. She lived three streets away so that was not an issue, and we talked about our roles. Then she brought up the obvious concern.
“Look Bill,” she stammered nervously. “I’m not sure how to put this. We have a spanking scene in the play. Rehearsals will get to that soon and we need to be clear how we tackle it.”
“Oh, I am so pleased you brought that up, Rachel,” I said with relief in my voice. “Yes, I had been worried about that scene too.”
‘Phew! Thank goodness that is out in the open,’ I thought to myself.
“Of course we will have to simulate it, but you could wear extra knickers if you want to be doubly protected, but that may be a little hot under the lights.”
“Oh, hang on, I think we have a crossed wire here, Bill, but I appreciate your suggestion. No, what I was going to say is, for the sake of the play, we do need to make it look, and sound (she said with great emphasis) authentic,” she explained in a calm, soothing voice.
Now I knew she was a very good actor, but good grief, that was going some, I thought!
“Err, I see, Rachel. Oh, that has taken me back a little. Sorry,” I said as I struggled to find the words.
Now Rachel didn’t have a boyfriend, was a real catch for anyone, and 100% out of my league. She had a wonderful temperament and had a bottom to die for, and here she was telling me she expected me to not only go through the motions of spanking her, but make it real.
“So, you actually want me to, er, spank you, properly?”
“Yup, that’s right. I think rehearsals are going well so far. Some of the minor characters are a little weak at present but I think Miss West will get them up to speed before the curtain goes up. This is my house, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With that, Rachel went through their gate and into the house, shooting me a friendly smile as she turned and gave a quick wave of the hand. I stood there thinking. Had that last 15 minutes really happened? Was I dreaming, or had all my birthdays come at once? I walked home, poured a cold drink and got changed out of my uniform ready for dinner. I started my homework, but soon stopped as my mind was focused on what had just gone before.
Next morning, it was English first period and Rachel cut me a quick smile as she sat with Laura, one of her best mates. As we left at the end of the double period studying the life, time and work of Wilfred Owen, Rachel tugged my blazer and motioned me to wait outside, which I did. A moment later, after checking the homework with Mrs Brown, she caught up with me.
“Hi Bill, are you OK? Only you seem a little distracted. You’re not worried about what we talked about last evening, are you? It’s only 20 seconds in a 2 hours play, no sweat, it’s just acting,” she reassured me. “I’d do it to you if the roles were reversed. It’s not a problem.”
As it happened, that specific scene came up in rehearsals after school that day. Miss West, who was a youngish teacher, about 30 and not bad looking herself, talked to Rachel about ‘the scene’ towards the end, and had let everyone else go, presumably in case Rachel was upset by the discussion.
“Rachel and Bill,” she started. “You know there is one famous scene in the play where Petruchio is ‘physical’ with Katherine’s character. Now I know that it isn’t exactly politically correct, so if you are not happy doing it, then…”
“Bill and I have discussed this at length, and we are of the firm opinion this is an important scene in this version of the play and as such needs to be treated like all of the other scenes and acted to the best of our abilities. We have agreed the spanking needs not only to look as realistic as possible, but should sound authentic as well.”
Miss Brown stood there, mouth gaping, no sounds coming out. I wish I had my phone and had taken a photograph.
“Oh, thank you, Rachel. That’s not quite how I was expecting this to go. I was going to say if you did wish that part of the scene to go ahead, obviously it would be characterised like so.” Miss Smith bent half-forward and gave herself an air spank, the motion missing her surprisingly well-shaped bottom by a few centimetres. “You see, that is all we are expecting from you.”
“No, that will never wash. We’ll do a run-through with you tomorrow after the rehearsal and thrash this out, Miss Brown,” smirked Rachel, choosing her words deliberately.
I must say, with Rachel’s confidence and determination, I thought I might as well enjoy the ride whilst it lasted as Rachel and I walked home and laughed at the look on Miss Brown’s face. We both bet she’d not know whether to mention it or keep quiet in the staff room tomorrow.
Next day, we met after school for rehearsal. Only 6 of the cast were there as we were doing a reading of ‘that scene’, as Miss Brown referred to it. We ran through the first half a couple of times and then came crunch time.
“Ok Bill, Rachel, this is err, where, you…” she stumbled through her carefully prepared speech quite badly. “Where you…”
“Where I upset Petruchio and he responds by bending me over giving my bum a good spanking.” Rachel finished the point in a very matter of fact way. Mike, John, Trish and Annette all smirked at the use of the word spanking, expecting it to be nothing more than a token pat or a total fake.
“That is correct.” Miss Brown gathered herself and continued. “I thought, Rachel, if you were to perhaps, er, bend forward to a 45 degree angle with your face to the audience, and Bill, you pretend to admonish Rachel, that should suffice.”
What Miss Brown could not have known was, after we got home last evening, Rachel had rung me and virtually told me what we were going to do. She did not allow me any input. I was very nervous, but also very excited at the prospect of spanking such a beautiful bottom. On the set was a chair pushed to the rear of the chamber in which the scene was set. The plan was I would take Rachel by the elbow, pull her backwards, sit on the chair, bend her across my lap and land six firm blows to her bottom.
We began the scene from the very beginning and worked our way through pretty well. Now came the moment of no return. I firmly took hold of Rachel’s elbow and escorted her to the back of the stage where I sat on the chair. Everyone was staring open-mouthed as I proceeded to guide Rachel into position. In truth, I was almost having to hold her back. Looking down, her school trousers were stretch tight across her shapely bottom and it was framed with a perfect panty line. Before Miss Brown could draw her thoughts together, I quickly and smartly landed six spanks across the waiting bottom.
“Bill, Bill, stop that this instant! Rachel, are you alright my dear?” blurted Miss Brown.
Looking a little red in the face, Rachel hopped up and looked at me. “What was that, Bill? I thought we agreed, the audience had to hear the spanking all the way to the back, not just the front two rows. No, we’ll have to go again until you get it right, Bill. I knew you wouldn’t get it right,” she said in an irritated tone.
“Err, Rachel, I believe I am directing this play, not you.” Miss Brown snapped. “I am not at all sure this is appropriate.”
“How is it inappropriate, Miss?” Rachel asked. “It is a period piece, is it not? Could you do a piece about, say, a Victorian school without sight of a cane, or something about slavery in America without a whip or a beating? Of course not. Pardon me for speaking frankly, Miss. If it doesn’t bother me it shouldn’t bother anyone else.”
I could see Rachel was certainly not in a mood for backing down on this. The other four were grinning from ear to ear at this exchange and, of course, what they had just witnessed.
“I’m sorry, Rachel,” I butted in. “But I have never been expected to spank someone before. I didn’t think I did too badly for a first attempt.”
“Sorry Bill, yes, I apologise; practice makes perfect,” Rachel said quietly.
“Well, I think that’s enough for today. I’ll see you all on Monday evening.” Miss Brown said. “Have a good weekend. Rachel, Bill, I will discuss this with the deputy head, Mrs Davis, (who was also head of English and Drama) on Monday and get back to you.”
“Well, that ruffled her feathers,” I said with a smile. “Better be getting off home, I suppose, before the caretaker locks up.”
“Before you do, I think you need to practice that again. Come on, as you said, not bad as a first run through, but it will have to be better than that. Really animate the movements so everyone can see what is coming, and you need to be a lot firmer with the smacks. The hall is empty now, but when it’s full sounds will not travel as well. Come on.”
I was still unsure whether this was a dream as Rachel strode confidently to the back of the stage and moved the chair to what would be a better angle for the audience.
“Try again,” she demanded.
Dutifully, I sat down, grabbed her elbow and ushered her forward. This time, she did resist, just enough to convince an audience, and was once again prone across my lap with her pert bottom on full display.
“Remember, animated and firm. Have a try,” she said, looking back over her shoulder.
Slap! My hand smacked the middle of her bottom.
“Lift your arm in a stiffer, more exaggerated way, and lift your shoulder as well.”
Spank! The sound was crisper and sharper and there was just the hint of a wince from Rachel.
“That’s a little better, but come down a little more swiftly,” she added, still looking back and watching the proceedings.
“That’s the ticket! Six more like that and we can go home.”
I could hardly refuse, and landed 6 more similar spanks on her firm bottom. After the 6th, she hopped up, gave herself a quick rub and put her jacket on as matter-of-fact as that.
“I hope that was not too hard,” I said apologetically. “I am on a very steep learning curve with all of this.”
“Oh, it’s nothing. It is the performance that counts. You are not there yet, but you are a darn sight closer than you were 5 minutes ago,” she said kindly, ruffling my hair. “Come on, good sir, you may escort this maiden home,” she added, whilst performing a small curtsy.
I smiled all the way home. Luckily, mum was in the kitchen when I got in, otherwise it would have been 20 questions.
On Monday evening, Miss Brown and Mrs Davis were both waiting for us as we arrived.
“So, you two, I understand there is a divergence of opinion between you and the director, Miss Brown, and apparently I am to adjudicate,” said Mrs Davis.
I am sure I detected a slight up-turning of her mouth as she fought against a smile at that point). She paused briefly, before continuing.
“So, would you be prepared to run through that scene again before anyone else arrives so I can see for myself?” she asked.
“We don’t mind, Mrs Davis,” Rachel jumped in, opening the script and showing Mrs Davis the page. “If we take it from this page half-way down?” Rachel gave her the script book, not needing it herself now.
And off we went. The scene built to its climax. I took Rachel by the elbow, sat on the repositioned chair, took her onto my lap and dropped 6 perfect spanks, even though I say so myself, exactly where they needed to be. The sound echoed around the hall like applause and, after the 6th spank, Rachel jumped up, giving a more lengthy rub to her bottom, before turning to Mrs Davis and asking, “Was there anything wrong with that? Obviously, I am not in costume. Dress rehearsals start tomorrow. Once I am, my big bum won’t look quite as bad, as the dress will hide it better but it will also deaden the sound. So Bill, you might need to step it up a wee bit more.”
“Well, young lady,” Mrs Davis began. “I take it you have ambitions of being an actor when you leave school. You are a natural.” Turning to Miss Brown, she said, “You were perfectly right to come to me with this matter. I am, however, totally at ease. These two know what they are doing and I have no issues with the portrayal of the scene. Rachel has really thought it through and I am happy with the result. Well done, you two. Carry on.” And with that she left and we carried on.
The dress rehearsals started and carried on for nearly 3 weeks before the show began. As Rachel correctly forecast, her dress did deafen the sound. At one point she suggested I should pull it up so she could be spanked on her Elizabethan-style knickers, but I kicked that into touch immediately as Mrs Brown would have a fit at that development.
The play opened and ran for 5 nights, and it was a resounding success. It was embarrassing riding home in the car with mum and dad. I hadn’t mentioned ‘the scene’ to them. Rachel’s parents, on the other hand, were very complimentary, apparently, on her bravery to allow that to go ahead. Truth be known, we both enjoyed the roles we played. Even Miss Brown had to confess that the scene was the highlight of the show each night and got good feedback from the audience, which was Rachel’s whole point all along.
As to what happened afterwards, at the end-of-show party on the Friday night, we all had a great time reflecting on our journey. Having changed, I walked Rachel home and we walked most of the way arm in arm, eventually kissing under the railway bridge. There had been a growing tension between us, and now the play was out of the way Rachel wanted to act upon it and we were now officially an item. We soon fell madly in love and luckily both ended up at the same university. Rachel studied Drama and Theatre Studies and I studied English and Drama. We performed in quite a few shows, though I actually preferred backstage roles by then, and became the director of a couple of plays in the third year whilst Rachel was usually the lead actress.
After graduation, we married and have been happy ever since. I am an assistant director in a large regional theatre and Rachel is a member of the in-house acting team and an acting coach as well. I never did get to spank Rachel on stage again after that, but that did not stop us in our private life. The Taming of the Shrew certainly woke a side us that we had never experienced before, but have both derived a lot of pleasure with since.