ASHEBORO — RSVP Community Theatre presents “The Merry Wives of Windsor” by William Shakespeare, the weekend of May 5, 6 & 7 in Asheboro’s Bicentennial Park, at no charge. Attendees will need to bring their own seating, and sitting close to the stage is recommended. Evening performances on Friday and Saturday begin at 7 p.m.; Sunday’s matinee begins at 2 p.m.
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” was written in five weeks at the specific request of Queen Elizabeth I in 1597. It was a rush job, but the author was well-experienced at working under pressure. The Queen’s reason? She wanted to see the character of Sir John Falstaff, who had appeared as the Prince Hal’s companion in Henry IV, Parts I & II, get his comeuppance.
All the settings in the play are real sites in the community of Windsor that contemporary audiences know well: streets, lanes, the laundry place by the Thames, and the forest in which the mag-ical last scene takes place. Director Nikki Peters has lifted the people of the play out of the distant past and brought them forward into the ‘70s without modifying the original work, except for some judicious abbreviation. The adaptation was prepared by Geri Bressler.
The story has all the complexities of Shakespearean comedy: mixed identi-ties, plots, subplots, and subplots to the subplots. Briefly, it seems that Mistress Page (Jerilynn Roblee) and Mistress Ford (Emily Williamson) have caught the eye of the old rogue Falstaff (Philip Shore) who would woo them both and take their money. Master Ford (Justin Tarlton) and Master Page (Bradley Tatham) are the offended husbands. The ladies merrily connive to win the day.
Additionally, Anne Page (Alex Tolar), the Pages’ daughter, is sought in marriage by Dr. Caius (Brandon Almazan), Slender (Cameron Surratt), and Fenton (Elijah Laprise). Keeping the lines of communication open through all the tangles is Mistress Quickly (Alicia Kellum). Keeping the wine topped off in Falstaff’s cup is the Host of the Garter (Aubri Henley).
Rounding out the cast of zanies is Hugh Evans (Shannon Lowe), a wild Welshperson; Shallow (Tammy Willcox); a servant (Kelli Smith); and Young Page (Dylan Henley). Supporting the show are Austin Cooper, Stage Manager; Mi-chele Dawes, Props Mistress; and Peggy George Kilburn, Publicity.
"The Merry Wives" is supported by a grant from the NC Arts Council, by the generosity of the City of Asheboro, and by the attendance of the citizenry.
For more information, visit www.rsvptheatre.org or RSVPCommunityTheatre on Facebook.