The Merry Wives of Windsor
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Roxanne Arroyo
"I will find you twenty lascivious turtles , ere one chaste man"
June 11-29, 2001
For the first 2001 summer "Shakespeare in the Park" installment, HSC produced the laugh a minute comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor. Roxanne Arroyo, who had previously appeared as Gwendolyn Pigeon in The Odd Couple helmed this wacky and physical production. Set sometime during the reign of King Henry IV and taking place in those Shakespeare plays, the story follows Shakespeare's famous "Fat Jack" Falstaff (Edward Otto Zielke) on another of his lusty conquests. This time, along with his cronies Pisol (Zulie Mendoza), Nym (Roxanne Benjamin) and Bradolph (Carlos Pontone), he decides to set up his lusting and raiding of married women's purses operation at The Garter Inn in the town of Windsor run by the ever grace, motor mouthed Host (Basil Meola). Falstaff sets his sights on two of the towns most prominent wives, Mistress Ford (Marlyne Afflack) and Mistress Page (Tracey Gibson).
The two wives are stunned to be receiving the advances of a bachelor in their married years, even if it is from a lascivious knight, but even more stunned when they compare letters. Deciding to get back at Falstaff, the two devise a scheme where Mistress Ford plays into Falstaff's game but he is foiled at the last minute. The meetings, often interrupted by Mr. Ford (Evangelous Alexiou), her jealous husband, results in Falstaff being sneaked out in a dirty laundry bag and being thrown into the river and being disguised as a woman that Mr. Ford despises. To get to the bottom of his wife's supposed infidelities, Mr. Ford disguises himself as Mr. Brook, a man looking to push Falstaff into either admitting to the affair or setting up an occasion to catch them. Mr. Ford/Brook tries to get his good friend Mr. Page (Michael Collins) and other townsmen to go along with his ideas, but to no avail. Two other subplots involving a rivalry between a Welsh tutor Sir Hugh Evans (Issac Platinsky) and a crazy French physican Dr. Caius (Jon Ciccarelli) and Justice Shallow (Robert Handler) for the hand of young Anne Page (Brenda Hattingh) who is actually in love with Master Fenton (Justin Swain). All of whose strings are pulled by the precocious Mistress Quickly (Lauren Volkmer). All is resolved in the end with Falstaff again thinking he is going to make it with Mistress Ford, instead he is "haunted" by the townspeople disguised as spirits. The would be suitors get bum dates, while Anne and Fenton get together in the end. All scenes pictured below were taken during the performance at Sinatra Park, Hoboken, NJ.
Below left, a disguised Mr. Ford (Evangelous Alexious, right) tries to bait Falstaff (Edward Otto Zielke) into his plan. Below right. Anne Page (Brenda Hattingh) and Fenton (Justin Swain) share a stolen moment.
Below center, the undoing of Falstaff, as the citizens of Windsor frighten Falstaff pretending to be spirits and fairies as he waited for a rendezvous with Mistress Ford.
Mistress Quickly (Lauren Volkmer) tries to smooth things over for her ever disagreeable boss Dr. Caius (Jon Ciccarelli, left) and her associate servant Rugby (Marco Montalvo- far right), when Simple (Oryana Quintero) makes an unexpected appearance.
Above, The gang - Falstaff and his cronies, Left Nym (Roxanne Benjamin) and Pistol (Zulie Mendoza) in an opening scene. Below, after unsuccessfully trying to seduce Mistress Ford (Marlyne Afflack) Falstaff is hidden in a dirty laundry basket in order to be smuggled past Mr. Ford.
Below, the distinguished men of Windsor (from far left) Mr. Ford, the Host of the Garter Inn (Basil Meola), Justice Shallow (Robert Handler) and Mr. Page (Michael Collins).
Left, Sir Hugh Evans regales Master Slender (David Law) & Justice Shallow (Robert Handler) in an early scene from the show. Right, The precocious Mistress Quickly (Lauren Volkmer) tries to seduce a suspicious Falstaff (Edward Otto Zielke) as his crony Bardolph (Carlos Pontone) looks on.
Above, Falstaff 's attempted seduction of Mistress Ford.
Riverview Park – Jersey City, NJ
Church Square Park – Hoboken, NJ
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