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College to produce one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays

Oct 27, 2013 - From staff reports

A Central Wyoming College cast will take audiences to Elizabethan England while staging one of William Shakespeare's lesser-known comedies "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theatre. A 2:30 p.m. matinee will be Saturday and Sunday, and a 7:30 p.m. show will be Saturday. The play is the first of several events at the beginning of November that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the center, which opened in November 1983.

In "Merry Wives," Shakespeare reprises the role of Falstaff, who was a major comic character in "Henry IV," parts I and II. CWC theater director Mike Myers said that according to legend, Queen Elizabeth I loved the character and asked Shakespeare to write a play for Falstaff.

"Merry Wives," however, is set almost a century later than Henry IV, and has no references to any of Falstaff's 15th century exploits from the history plays.

While "The Merry Wives of Windsor" is one of Shakespeare's lesser-known works, Myers selected it because it is one of the few Shakespeare plays that has multiple leading roles for women.

Theater student Patrick Bergin plays Falstaff, who is an aging knight who is down on his luck and cash. He plans to seduce Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, played by Taylar Stagner and Hannah Thoman, in an attempt to get at their husbands' money. He writes each an identical love letter, which are later compared by the women and they hatch a retaliation plot.

Myers has cast three recent CWC theater graduates in the show, including Thoman, Jeremy Gross and Percy Claar. He said they have been great role models for the new crop of students making their first appearance on the main stage.

Claar is Nym, who along with Pistol, played by Lander community actor Ed Novotny, tell the husbands of Falstaff's plans. Master Ford, played by Josiah Sifuentes, is the "comic version of Othello," who becomes jealous and paranoid and develops his own plan to humiliate Falstaff, Myers said.

Gross plays the romantic lead of Fenton, who is in love with Mistress Page's daughter, Anne, who is played by theater student Anika Greenhalgh.

Myers promises the Shakespeare script is easy to follow and is quite funny.

As is usual with plays by The Bard, there are multiple plots happening at the same time.

Tickets, $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors, are available at the box office or online at www.tickets.cwc.edu. The box office phone number is 855-2002 or 1-800-865-0190.

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