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The Merry Wives of Windsor

by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Conant Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 465

SHOWING : July 12, 2002 - August 10, 2002



Big city smarts are no match for shrewd native wit when the disreputable Falstaff descends upon the sleepy town of Windsor. As part of a "get-rich-quick" scheme, Falstaff courts not one, but two, of the town's wealthy matrons, only to be put in his place by the quick-witted duo. Set in the traditional Elizabethan setting, The Merry Wives of Windsor is fun for the entire family! Directed by Tom Markus. Opens July 12.

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Fun & Frothy
by Ophelia98
Friday, July 19, 2002
Can't think of a better way to spend a humid summer evening in Atlanta than enjoying this well-done GSF production of one of the more lightweight entries from the Bard. The story is paper thin, but easy enough to follow even if you aren't a Shakespeare scholar. And who really wants a heavy, deep plot on a steamy summer night, anyway? The set is bright and cheerful. Swell performances by all, although the talented Brad Sherrill as Fenton seemed to be phoning it in on opening night as if playing the young lothario roles hold no challenge for him whatsoever anymore.

GSF got it just right with this one and I don't believe you'll be disappointed. Enjoy!
Don't Tell Me it Doesn't Matter!
by Dedalus
Saturday, July 13, 2002
On Friday, I received some bad news of a personal nature. I spent most of the day re-arranging schedules, making excuses, and finding busywork to keep myself from grieving. For some reason I cannot fathom, I did not cancel my Friday Night tickets to “Merry Wives of Windsor” at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival. This was especially odd, since it’s been just over a year since my own involvement with a production of the play which no one saw or cared about.

I was glad I went.

Yes, “Merry Wives” is gossamer-thin, lighter than air, and about as serious as the Marx Brothers contemplating Margaret Dumont’s bosom. Legend has it that it was written in fourteen days at the express request of Queen Elizabeth I, and scholars have been dumping on it ever since. It is over 80% prose, and his little of the soaring language Shakespearean addicts such as myself long to lose ourselves in.

But Preston Sturgess was right. Sometimes, a gossamer comedy is just what is needed, just what can give you a grip on your sanity, just what you need to give you the strength to face what lurks outside the theatre doors. It was just what I needed.

The production is a delight from beginning to end. From the Candy-Land Tudor houses of the set, to the joyous merriment of Carolyn Cook and Janice Akers as the wives, to the raving jealousy of Chris Kayser as Ford, to the Town Crier cautioning the audience about “things not invented which can still beep and ring and cause distress to your loyal servants, the actors,” to Bruce Evers’ larger-than-life-Falstaff, to the fractured English of Allen O’Reilly’s Evans and Chris Ensweiler’s Caius, to the bonhomie of Al Stilo’s Host, to the lecherousness of Tim McDonough’s Shallow, to the effeteness of Scott Cowart’s Slender, to the sweetness of Park Krausen’s Anne, to the Raven sitting on the Sign pointing to “Nevermore” -- everything conspired to make me smile, even laugh, for the first time that day. Every five minutes, I was thinking “we should have done that with our production,” but not getting depressed about our shortcomings, because the whole affair was just too darn pleasant.

If I have to complain, it would be that actors visibly exiting and entering behind the townscape in the background were distracting, that Brad Sherrill’s energy as Fenton was slightly lower than his castmates, that the song added for Fenton and Anne was forgettable, and that the comic highpoints felt rushed, but these are all issues easily overlooked, and, no doubt caused by opening night jitters or my own impossibly high expectations.

So, you may criticize “Merry Wives” for not being as deep or as poetic or as weighty as other works in the Shakespeare canon. But don’t you dare tell me it’s not important.

-- Brad Rudy (


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