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.
Falstaff… Ross Harkness
Master Ford(Falstaff understudy)… James Lucas
Master Page… Brian Flegel
Mistress Page… Cynthia Lagodzinski
Mistress Ford… Valerie Singer
Mistress Quickly… Caitlin Lawrence Papp
Caius(Master Page understudy)… Drew Benjamin Jones
Sir Hugh… Kyle Smith
Anne Page(Mistress Quickly understudy)… Sara Luna
Shallow… Skip Huffman
Slender(Sir Hugh, Caius understudy)… Erik Browne
Simple… Christian Pizzirani
Pistol… Merav Berger
Jack Rugby(Anne Page understudy)… Erin Southard
Host(Mistress Ford understudy)… Melissa Weinstein
Fenton… Christian Hosler
Bardolf(acting intern)… Carl Erez
Nym(acting intern)… Rea Kapur
Director, Dramaturg… Doll Piccotto
Assistant Director… Tonya Duncan
co-Stage Manager… Christina Sturken
co-Stage Manager, Master Electrician… Maren Lane
Technical Director… Louis Stone-Collonge
Sound Designer… Adam Weinstein
Scenic Designer… Ting Na Wang
Hair & Makeup Designer… Melissa Weinstein
Lighting Designer… Bob Smay
Costume Designer… Amy Conners
Properties Designer… Scott Ludwig
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.