By Christa Tandana
All the way from London, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre has brought The Merry Wives of Windsor to The Schimmel Theatre at Pace University. Said to be Shakespeare’s “first comedy”, the play was delivered with true hilarity!
The Merry Wives of Windsor is a tale about two wives who lived in Windsor and a certain Sir John Falstaff. Thinking that Mistress Page and Mistress Ford both had an eye on him, Falstaff wrote them each a wordy love letter. When the merry wives discover them, they devise a plan to trick him and teach him a lesson. When their husbands misunderstand, the plot and everyone in it grows into a snowball of confusion.
The actors were hysterical, particularly Mistress Page, played by Serena Evans, and Mistress Ford played by Sarah Woodward. It was such a joy to watch these two middle-aged women giggle like school girls and plan their pranks on Falstaff. Falstaff himself, played by Christopher Benjamin, was believably clueless and entertaining as he ignorantly waltzed into the merry wives’ traps.
It is truly rare nowadays to see traditional instruments used to accompany every scene change and every part of the story. It was certainly a treat to hear and witness how these musicians utilized their talents and even how the actors interacted with them.
The set proved to be an ingenious use of space with a sort of revolving stage that allowed for different rooms and even a garden.
The Merry Wives of Windsor was a wonderfully playful Shakespearean comedy – a rare treat from London to today’s American theatre world!
TICKETS: Thru Nov. 7th; $10 Student Rush, 1 hour before the show; Schimmel Center, Pace University – 3 Spruce Street; www.pace.edu/shakespeare/merry-wives-of-windsor/