Sock It to Me! The Merry Wives of Windsor cast are laughing (and dancing!) their way through rehearsals for Shakespeare’s wacky comedy. See the show starting July 12.
With a plot that’s easy to follow and a gallery of broad humorous characters, The Merry Wives of Windsor is an audience favorite. Don’t know it? Don’t worry, you’re in for a treat! Want to know a bit more about the play? Then we’re here to help shine a light on this popular comedy of small town mischief.
In the ‘BurbsWhile Shakespeare drew upon many sources to create the plots for his plays, The Merry Wives of Windsor is wholly original. When play usually dealt with aristocratic life or heroic figures, it was practically unheard of to create a comedy about the hijinks of the suburban middle class.
What Bess Wants, Bess Gets.Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth so enjoyed the character of Sir John Falstaff in the Henry IV part 2 that she wanted to see more of him, perhaps in a comedy about love. Merry Wives was his unique response to “continue the story, with Sir John in it.”
The Here and NowWhile Shakespeare set most of his comedies in far off lands or magical places, The Merry Wives of Windsor is Shakespeare’s only play that is set in his own era: England in the 1590s.
I Get Knocked Down…But I Get Up AgainThe star of the play is Falstaff, and much of the comedic action stems from his shenanigans and the chaos he creates in this tidy, quiet town. He bounces back from failure with unflagging optimism, and his wit shines through while other characters mangle language with malapropisms and mispronunciations.
Better on the Stage than the PageWith its sight gags, outrageous accents, and bawdy malapropisms, The Merry Wives of Windsor is one of those plays that works better in performance than when reading it on the page.
Forgotten Love?While a few characters like Bardolph, Nim, and Pistol carryover from Henry IV parts 1 & 2 and Henry V with their memory intact of who Falstaff is, Mistress Quickly seems to be suffering from amnesia. In Henry IV part 2 she was desperate to marry Sir John, but in The Merry Wives of Windsor it’s like she doesn’t even recognize him.
A Lightening Fast QuillAlthough unsubstantiated, legend has it that it took Shakespeare only 14 days to write The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Herne’s OakToward the end of The Merry Wives of Windsor there’s a reference to a local legend of Herne the Hunter. Supposedly he’s now a ghost who haunts the forest near an oak tree where he was found dead with deer horns on his head.
Who Runs the World? GirlsWomen had it pretty tough in Elizabethan England. Once married, a woman became the property of her husband. If she disobeyed him, she could be reprimanded by law. That’s why it was kind of revolutionary that Shakespeare created The Merry Wives of Windsor, a play about wives asserting their control over the town and men in their lives.
Seattle Shakespeare Company celebrates the 25th anniversary of Wooden O this summer with productions of King Lear and The Merry Wives of Windsor which start performances on Thursday, July 12. Both productions will perform in park venues throughout King and Pierce Counties.
It’s the 25th Anniversary of Wooden O and we’re thrilled for our summer park productions of King Lear and The Merry Wives of Windsor. So pick a park and start planning your picnics, because on July 12 we launch our free summer Shakespeare. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Artistic Director George Mount will direct King Lear featuring David Pichette in the title role. Pichette has appeared the past two summers with Wooden O in Love’s Labours Lost and Pericles. A regular on Seattle stages, it will be a real treat to see Pichette and company take on our first outdoor production of this epic drama. To counter the dark drama, director Corey McDaniel will stage Shakespeare’s suburban comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor. Taking inspiration from London in the swinging ‘60s, the production features Charles Leggett as John Falstaff, and Annie Lareau and Eleanor Moseley as Mistress Ford and Mistress Page who turn the tables on the rascally old scammer.
The full cast for King Lear includes Nabilah S. Ahmed (Cordelia), Mike Dooly (Albany), Jennifer Ewing (Oswald), Meme Garcia (Fool), Anais Gralpois (Ensemble), Ivan Guillermo (Burgundy), Jonelle (Jordan (Reagan), Jason Marr (Cornwall), Vanessa Miller (Goneril), Conner Neddersen (Edgar), Adrian Padilla (France), Arjun Pande (Edmund), David Pichette (King Lear), Alyson Scadron-Branner (Kent), R. Hamilton Wright (Gloucester).
The Merry Wives of Windsor full cast includes Megan Ahiers (Host of the Garter Inn), Vince Brady (Master Page), Anuhea Brown (Nym/ensemble), Susanna Burney (Shallow), Marianna deFazio (Evan Hughs), Brandon Felker (Dr. Caius), Reginald Andre Jackson (Master Ford), Annie Lareau (Mistress Ford), Charles Leggett (Falstaff), Lamar Lewis (Slender), Imogen Love (Mistress Quickly), Sienna Mendez (Pistol/ensembles), Eleanor Moseley (Mistress Page), Stephanie Neuerburg (Anne Page), Chad Sommerville (Fenton), Mariah Lee Squires (Simple/Robin/ensemble).
This summer Seattle Shakespeare Company will celebrate 25 years of bringing free Shakespeare to our region’s parks with productions of King Lear and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Both shows will start performances on July 12 and will perform in 12 different park venues through August 12. “The summer Wooden O shows started with some friends and a dream to bring free Shakespeare to our community,” said Artistic Director George Mount who founded Wooden O. “We knew at the time it was ambitious, and we weren’t sure how it would go, or how far we could take it. To last for 25 years, to perform in so many cities, and become such a beloved summer tradition for so many people is an accomplishment that still takes my breath away. It’s a humbling moment and a testament to the artists who bring these works to life and to the audiences who continue to find value and enjoyment in what we do.” Mount will direct King Lear which will feature local actor David Pichette in the title role. It is the company’s first outdoor production of King Lear. Corey McDaniel, the artistic director of Theatre22 will stage The Merry Wives of Windor set in the swinging 1960s of London. Tickets to Wooden O performances are free and open to the public, but donations are encouraged after the show.