Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival Returns with 'Merry Wives of Windsor'

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival Returns with 'Merry Wives of Windsor'

Article excerpt

ST. MARYS -- The opportunity to laugh at lines written by the greatest writer in the English language between bites of a roasted turkey leg will return to northeast Kansas when the Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival presents "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

The festival will for a sixth season again offer its mix of Renaissance fair and Shakespeare-in-the-park theater at seven performances Sept. 11-13 and 17-20 in a copse northwest of St. Mary's College dubbed Sir William's Hollow. Gates will open at 5 p.m., and except for Sept. 17, the stage productions will be preceded by a festival which includes a crafts fair, live music, games, spirits and food, some of which is cooked on-site over wood fires.

"The Merry Wives of Windsor" will begin at 7:30 p.m. except Sundays when curtain is 6:30 p.m.

Andrew Clarendon, a Naval Academy graduate who teaches at St. Mary's College, again will direct the cast that includes both college students and adult actors seen on other stages, such as Topeka's Thomas J. Hughes Jr. and Trent Leach, both veterans of local productions of Shakespeare.

Last year, Hughes played the court jester Touchstone in the Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival production of "As You Like It." Leach starred as Prospero in Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy's April 2014 production of "The Tempest," in which Hughes played Stephano.

This year Hughes will play Sir John Falstaff, who, according to the Royal Shakespeare Company's synopsis of the play, finds himself in financial straits and decides to restore his fortunes by seducing the wives of two wealthy citizens. He sends Mistress Page (Emilie Jordan) and Mistress Ford (Ann Gayner) identical love letters, but they discover his double dealing and set about turning the tables, arranging an assignation at Mistress Ford's house.

The jealous Frank Ford (Matt Baer) has heard of Falstaff's plan and decides to test his wife's fidelity. Pretending to be Master Broom, he pays Falstaff to seduce his wife on his behalf, twice almost catching them together. …

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