and then to the Curtain Call Luncheon where 3 of the actors did a Q&A while we ate a buffet lunch. It was a great time with great food, but we forgot to take a picture!
The Merry Wives of Windsor is one of the favorite plays of Shakespeare. It is the third time we have seen it here at the USF. It might have been commissioned by Queen Elizabeth with the express purpose that another play featuring the rascal Sir John Falstaff, who was a favorite character of the Queen. Falstaff had been killed in a previous Historical play. The play is set in Windsor, the Queen’s summer home. The play begins with Falstaff acknowledging that he has run out of money so he decides to simultaneously woo two of the wealthy but married ladies of the town in hopes of gaining access to their husband’s wealth. He writes each of them an identical letter detailing his intentions. The wives learn of Falstaff’s plan and decide to teach him a lesson. The plot twists and turns when one husband knows he can trust his wife while the second husband does not trust his wife, puts on a disguise, goes to Falstaff, and actually pays him to try to compromise his wife. The bulk of the play deals with the wives acting like they welcome Falstaff’s advances and then managing to put him in compromising positions. One time, Falstaff is with both ladies when the jealous husband comes in searching for Falstaff. Falstaff hides in a dirty laundry basket, which is soon dumped into the river. Another time Falstaff must dress up as a fat wench to escape as the husbands are beating him. After this episode, both husbands are now sure of their wives’ virtue and the four of them conspire to make an example of Falstaff one last time. At the end of this third prank, they reveal their jokes to Falstaff.
As is usual in a Shakespeare play, there is more than one plot. The second plot deals with the daughter of one of the families involved in the Falstaff plot. It is time for her to find a husband. Her father prefers one suitor, the mother a second, and the daughter a third. All is ok in the end because the daughter runs off with her choice and the dad and mother realize he was really the best choice anyway.