The Charleston Catholic High School Drama Club will perform William Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” May 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s commons area.
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” is one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies. The play was originally published in 1602, but it still remains extremely relevant and exciting. It is believed that Shakespeare wrote this play at the request of Queen Elizabeth, who enjoyed the character of Sir John Falstaff in Shakespeare’s two Henry IV plays. Queen Elizabeth wanted a play in which Falstaff, a grandiose and comedic old knight, could have a greater role.
Director Joshua Fix, who teaches history at Charleston Catholic, has adapted the play into a story within a story. Professor Goode, the Shakespeare Dude (senior Patrick Hart) appears to a classroom of terribly bored students to show them how great Shakespeare really is. Professor Goode uses magic to bring the play to life with the students playing some of the parts. He and the students also pause the play intermittently to add commentary and explain key plot points.
Sir John Falstaff (senior Tres Legg) rolls into Windsor, England, low on money. He comes up with a plan — a brilliant one, in his eyes. He will seduce two married women for their money.
He sends identical love letters to Mistress Page (senior Kayla Boggess) and Mistress Ford (sophomore Phoebe Crow). Unfortunately for Falstaff, he does not account for the fact that the two merry wives of Windsor are best friends with a mischievous streak.
Appalled and amused by Falstaff’s affront to their honor, they decide to teach him a lesson. They set him up and torture him in increasingly humorous and extreme ways, causing the immoral knight discomfort and aggravation.
Meanwhile, the husbands of the merry wives — Master George Page (senior Joshua Hufford) and Master Francis Ford (senior John Skaggs) — have been alerted to Falstaff’s advances by two of his former employees. Page laughs it off, as he trusts his wife, but Ford becomes extremely jealous. Against Page’s advice, Ford attempts to catch his wife with Falstaff; he goes undercover as Master Brook to find out Falstaff’s plan, leading him to look as foolish as Falstaff.
In a concurrent subplot, the Pages are trying to marry off their daughter, Anne Page (freshman Madison Settle). Mistress Page wishes Anne to marry Doctor Caius (freshman Andrew Willis), but Master Page wishes for her to marry Master Slender (sophomore Samuel Levenson), who is the nephew of Shallow, the local justice (freshman Kayce Boggess). Sir Hugh Evans (sophomore Alex Canfield), the local parson, becomes mixed up in this when he tries to lobby for Slender, leading to a great fight with Caius. Anne, however, is in love with Master Fenton (sophomore Thomas Hart).
Will the merry wives of Windsor prevail over Sir John Falstaff? Will true love prevail? Will Professor Goode save the students from their boredom? To find out, go see Charleston Catholic’s production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” which promises to be a hilarious and thrilling show with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.