Director/Founder of OTE, Aurora J. Culver, explains her concept for this year’s SHAKESPEARE IN THE HILLS‘ production of The Merry Wives of Windsor:
“A few years ago while directing Romeo & Juliet, I opened up the discussion to my cast of other Shakespeare shows On The Edge should produce. A few actors suggested The Merry Wives of Windsor, and while I was familiar with the story of the show, I hadn’t seen or read it before.
“I checked it out- finding a copy to read as well as listening to a free audio version thanks to Librivox. I found myself laughing at purely Elizabethan era jokes- Englishmen making fun of the French and Welsh, playing with the concept of who was a cuckold, and the like. They were all things I was familiar with from years of attending and working at the Renaissance Faire. What amazed me was how much Merry Wives touched specifically on the locations, time period, and place that Shakespeare lived. As I continued my research, diving further into the show, I kept finding more proof for this. There were nods to existing bars in his other plays, descriptions of the actors who played characters put into the text of his plays, Shakespeare’s mocking of real life people- so why wouldn’t he create a comedy completely poking fun at real life?
“Looking at Merry Wives from this viewpoint made me think of sitcoms, from wacky characters to even wilder episodes where the characters have to deal with situations somewhat based on reality. And that’s when the TV show ‘Friends’ started beckoning. The more I thought about the parallels and just how fun it would be to have a Shakespearean sitcom set in the 90s, the more I had to do it. I bounced the idea off of ‘Friends’ and Shakespeare fans alike, and found even more people wanting this to become a reality.
“The set is inspired by the Elizabethan simplicity of a stage- they used three entrances which would become any location they needed it to. The walls of our set are inspired by the iconic locations of ‘Friends’ – Monica’s apartment and Central Perk.
“We are delving into 90’s fashion, inspired by many shows of the time period. Some of our characters are directly influenced by those from ‘Friends’, while others are inspired by NYC and general sitcom archetypes.
“The cast and crew have been looking for even more references to squeeze into each moment of the show- so keep a keen eye and ear out. It’ll be a smorgasbord for any fan of ‘Friends’!
“My hope is by combining the comedy of life during Shakespeare’s time with the comedy of sitcoms, The Merry Wives of Windsor will become a new favorite for all.
“We hope to see you at the show!”
“O powerful Love, that in some respects makes a beast a man, in some other a man a beast.”
This summer, join SHAKESPEARE IN THE HILLS for one of Shakespeare’s most hilarious comedies, The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Sir John Falstaff and his entourage are wearing out their welcome in Windsor. The city isn’t big enough for his antics and appetites, especially as he sets about improving his financial situation by wooing Mistress Page and Mistress Ford. Meanwhile, Mistress Page’s lovely daughter, Anne, is under romantic siege from several local admirers. Double-meanings, disguises and dirty laundry abound as the men try to get what they want, but it’s the women of Windsor who pull the strings in this story…
Originally set in Shakespeare’s native land and time, this comedy shares traditions with today’s well-loved sitcoms. With its dexterous mingling of verbal and physical humor, we’ve brought it into the era of 90’s television, bringing elements from the show “Friends” and many more!
Bring a blanket or your lawn chair, bring your meal and make it a picnic event for SHAKESPEARE IN THE HILLS’ outdoor performance presented by On The Edge Theatre Productions.
All performances are held at the Laguna Hills Community Center & Sports Complex’s Gazebo and Town Green, 25555 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA, 92653.
Snacks and refreshments will be available for purchase at this family event.
Performances @ 7 pm, July 19 & 20th, 26th & 27th, and August 2nd & 3rd. Tickets $10
Age 12 and under free. All participants of age 12 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets are sold (cash only) on the day of the show. You may also purchase your ticket early online (class registration ). No refunds or transfers for this event. Call 949-707-2680 for more information.