For those of you who don’t know the story, Merry Wives is one of Shakepeare’s domestic comedies revolving around Sir John Falstaff( Joe Hulser), a mischievious letch. Finding himself in Windsor, he is determined not only to woo two wealthy women away from their husbands, and enrich himself at the same time. The two women, Mistress Ford ( Elyse Ashton) and Mistress Page ( Victoria Hoffman), unfortunate for Falstaff, compare letters and realize that he has written the same to both.
Together, they scheme to teach Sir Falstaff a lesson in humility. However, Frank Ford ( Stuart W Howard), the forever jealous husband, is concerned when one of Falstaff’s former henchman tells him that both Mistresses are the subject of Falstaff’s attentions and plots to fool Falstaff into revealing his plans. George Page ( Greg Baglia) on the other hand, trusts his wife.
The go between the wives and Falstaff is the entertaining Mistress Quickly ( Jean Gilpin) who works for Doctor Caius ( Stephen Moramarco). The doctor has his eyes set on the prize of Page’s daughter Anne ( Laura Emanuel) but so does Abraham Slender ( Troy Dunn) and Fenton ( William Popp.) As per Shakespeare’s plays, true love wins out but not without a charming mix up in the fairy garden of Windsor Forest.
Shallow ( Paul Morgan Fredrix) plays an endearing Welsh priest and Sir Hugh Evens ( Kevin Fabian) the bumbling uncle of Slender. The play also stars Julie Alexander, Rashmi and Stephanie Kane as Falstaff’s associates.
Thanks to the direction of Carey Upton, the small town of Windsor has instead become small town America of the 1950’s whose costumes were designed by Erin Tanaka. How interesting it was to hear Shakespeare in modern dress. The stage manager Todd Silver and producer Annunziata Gianzero produced the play.
All of the actors were wonderfully talented and thoroughly enjoyable.
Elizabeth Karr, the chairperson of CTL, says that they do several classical plays a year and are always on the look out of professional actors who want to exercise their abilities. The still photos you see in this article were done by Chad Restum.
My only complaint was that the sun was in my eyes and the chairs should have been shifted to the other side of the stage for the evening performance.
While the show is preformed for free, the company willingly accepts donations. For more information or to reserve seating call 323 960-5691 or go to www.classicaltheatrelab.org
The play runs until August 3rd at Plummer Park and until August 24 at West Hollywood Park. Starting time is 5 pm.