Friday, February 1, 2008

Merry Wives of Windsor Opens Feb 7th

A ‘Merry’ view of Shakespeare
By Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll
February 01, 2008

Falstaff (Riley King) disguises himself as an elderly woman to escape from the angry husband of an adoring Mistress Ford (Stephanie Gianno) in the Barnstable High School Drama Club’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Would most teenagers want to contemplate death and “the frightening existential nature of an uncaring universe” for three hours?

Not on your life. And that’s exactly why director Ed O’Toole bypasses tragedies like “King Lear” and goes for the laughs when he stages his annual Shakespeare plays at Barnstable High School.

The 2008 confection, celebrating the 10th year of Shakespeare shows, will be “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” which O’Toole says is “in many ways a farce.” His production will emphasize “broadly drawn characters, slapstick humor, a chase scene or two, slamming doors, etc.”

This isn’t anything new, he says: “It’s all there in the text.”

The story: Two clever wives “are pitted against their two scheming husbands as they fend off the advances of the egotistical fortune-hunting rogue Falstaff in a comedy of many errors, much slapstick and Shakespeare’s usual mix of young love, mistaken identity and mischievous fairies.”

His student cast performs seven shows over five days, including three shows for middle-school students, who are prepped by English teacher O’Toole’s students from Shakespeare class. The middle-schoolers may relate to the show more because this version of “Merry Wives” will be in modern dress. The set will be an apartment/condo building, and the show’s Garter Inn even gets a live band for entertainment.

If You Go

“The Merry Wives of Windsor,” presented by Barnstable High School Drama Club; 7 p.m. Feb. 7-9 and 1 p.m. Feb. 10; Knight Hall at the school, 744 W. Main St., Hyannis; $8

1 comment:

Cvillelisa said...

I took my daughter to see this tonight - she's 11 and an aspiring actress, we read Shakespeare nightly. We both loved it. The "take" on the characters of the Doctor and Mistress Quickly were New and good. The entire cast was fantastic. Thanks and keep up the great work.