Free Shakespeare in the Park!
June 9 – 25, 2017
Thursdays – Sundays 7:00 pm
Willow Street Park, San Jose
“Why, then the world ’s mine oyster, which I with sword will open.”
The buffoonish, boastful Falstaff has his eye on the married Mistress Ford and Mistress Page! These merry wives are repelled by Falstaff, but feign interest to amuse themselves and expose his brazen advances. Master Ford’s jealousy rises, the merry wives hatch plans, and a flurry of suitors make advances on the lovely Anne Page.
This delightful Shakespeare comedy, set in the world of reality television, is a battle of wits, certain to leave you in stitches!
* $10 donation is gently recommended.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Doll Piccotto
Rating: E for Everyone – This piece is specifically designed to be fun for the whole family! There should be no material that would cause concern.
Sir John Falstaff is down on his luck. Overweight, underworked and no beer money—what’s a knight to do? Using his brains and not unconsiderable bulk, the knight devises a plan to come into money by wooing the two wealthiest women in town. Problem is—they’re married. But this doesn’t stop our intrepid hero, who is convinced that the wives will willingly deceive their husbands to keep him in coins and kisses.
The husbands through village gossip hear of Sir John’s amorous advances to their wives. Master Page is not worried. Master Ford, however, has jealous doubts about his wife’s faithfulness and decides to put it to the test. He approaches Sir John in disguise and weaves a story about how he himself is in love with Mistress Ford and would like to pay Falstaff to woo her. He tells the knight that Mistress Ford’s faithfulness is known throughout the village, but if anyone can break her down, Sir John can, and once she’s been unfaithful once, he can blackmail her to do it again. Falstaff, unsurprisingly, falls for this plot hook, line, and sinker, and reveals to Master Ford the time and place of their first assignation.
The wives, seeing right through Falstaff, have other plans for the rotund Romeo and begin to exact revenge. Setting up a meeting time with Mistress Ford when her husband is away, Mistress Page bursts in on the “tryst”, telling her friend (in easy earshot of a concealed Sir John) that her husband has heard about her affair and is on his way to the house!. Fearful of discovery, Sir John reveals himself and begs for help in his escape. Concealing him in a laundry basket, the wives have their servants remove the “dirty laundry” from the house and dump it in the river for washing.
Arriving at the house, Master Ford (with a rabble of men from the village) encourages everyone to search, convinced that he will find his wife’s lover. Finding nothing, he abashedly admits his wrong and begs forgiveness of his wife. Returning to Sir John in disguise again, Master Ford waits to hear the story his wife’s faithfulness, only to be told that the “deed” couldn’t be completed because of the husband’s interference, but that ANOTHER assignation has been arranged! Leaving in a jealous fury, Master Ford again makes plans to catch his wife and the large Lothario in the act.
The wives again set up an assignation using Mistress Ford as bait. Again, Mistress Page interrupts with news that Master Ford is on the way and that he’s talking about the laundry basket. Falstaff again reveals himself, begs for help, refuses to get in the basket, so they wives take him upstairs and dress him in women’s clothing.. When Master Ford and his cronies arrive, they search again, focusing expressly on the laundry basket.. In the midst of this, Mistress Ford calls to Mistress Page to bring the ‘old woman’ down, relating to everyone that it her maid’s aunt, more commonly known as the “Witch of Brainford”. Coming downstairs in disguise, Falstaff is vigorously beaten by Master Ford and the other men.
At this point, the wives want to play one more trick on the sorry knight, but first decide to tell their husbands as Master Ford’s jealous has started to get out of control. Once they are informed, they decide to get the whole town of Windsor involved. It takes some convincing, but they have Falstaff dress as the mythical figure Herne the Hunter and meet them for an assignation in Windsor forest where Falstaff will be able to enjoy the company of both wives at once. He meets them there in costume and again, at the moment of triumph, the wives, hearing a noise, run away leaving Falstaff to fend for himself against a hoarde of Windsor folk dressed as fairies intent on punishing those of bad intent. After being thoroughly scared and pinched Falstaff is saved by the wives who reveal the trick and invite him back to Windsor for ale and festivities.
Doll has been with Silicon Valley Shakespeare since its first production, appearing as Feste in Twelfth Night. Since then you may have seen her as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Lady M in Macbeth, the Chorus in Henry V, or most recently Antonia in The Tempest at SJSU. Doll has a BA in English from USCB and a Masters at SJSU where she emphasized Renaissance Drama. She is also our company Dramaturg.
Hair and Makeup Intern / Crew
This is Bob’s first show with Silicon Valley Shakespeare and his first Shakespeare design, but he’s been designing in the South Bay for a number of years for The Retro Dome and Stage Kids California. Bob has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of the Pacific in Stockton and is also a member of IATSE Local 134. He spends his off hours canoeing or at TechShop.
Assistant Stage Manager
Adam has worked as a sound designer with SVS since 2008. Some of his favorite work with Silicon Valley Shakespeare includes Pride and Prejudice, Pericles, Much Ado About Nothing, and As You Like It. Other productions he has worked on include Educating Rita at Northside Theatre, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and The Children’s Hour at Broadway West. He was recently seen onstage at Broadway West in It’s A Wonderful Life.
Dromio of Syracuse / Makeup and Hair Designer
Excited to return for her ninth season, Melissa’s favorite past SVS roles include Emilia (Othello), Hero (Much Ado), Phoebe (AYLI), Oswald (King Lear), and Ariel (Tempest, 2007). She has also performed with West Bay Opera, West Valley Light Opera, Cinequest, and more. Since receiving her BA in Theatre, Melissa also moonlights as a makeup designer/artist (SVS, Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Channel UK, and Opera San José) and is SVS’s Education Director.
The Merry Wives of Windsor – Rated E for Everyone
This piece is specifically designed to be fun for the whole family! There should be no material that would cause concern. Parents who are curious about the content of this play can read a version that’s very similar to our script here.
About the Family Rating System
Silicon Valley Shakespeare makes theatrical classics enjoyable and accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Families love to attend our plays, and we’re proud to introduce thousands of young people to the Bard.
To assist parents and guardians in assessing which of our plays are right for their children, our Family Rating System features a general rating for each production followed by a more nuanced recommendation and description of the play’s content.
Our assessment can’t fit every family, so we also provide a link to the actual text of our plays whenever possible so that parents can make their own decision. Our ratings are:
E (Everyone) — Suitable for all ages.
PG (Parental Guidance) — Appropriate for most audiences under 13, but we recommend that parents inform themselves about the content of the play and its themes, and exercise their best judgment for their individual child.
T (Teen) — Might be inappropriate for audiences under 13. Parents of younger children are welcome to attend with their children, but we recommend that they prepare for questions their children might have about some of the more sophisticated and mature content and themes of the play, and its particular presentation.
M (Mature) — Not recommended for audiences under 17.
About very young children: Infants and toddlers are always welcome at our outdoor performances. We’re thrilled to offer newer parents an opportunity to enjoy live theatre! We ask that at least one parent or guardian be prepared to take a break with these tiny theatergoers out of earshot of the theatre space, if they become upset or very vocal.
Sponsored in Part by
San José City Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio
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Enjoy ticket discounts, special events, cozy blankets and seat cushions, free beverages, and other great perks. All while you help support SVS – it’s 100% tax-deductible. Become a Member today!