September 5, 2013
William Shakespeare often found enlightened settings in wooded areas for many of his farces. Thus it was fitting to witness Hamilton College’s rendition of The Merry Wives of Windsor in the outdoors.
The set was enticing. Strewn carefully were various articles of women’s clothing — a quiet but clever nod to the unavoidable presence disguise and dirty laundry have in the plot.
This minimalist set was enhanced by the utilization of the encompassing area around the audience. Planted pines were used as stage wings, while the gravel road leading to the cemetery served as a location for transition scenes and a place for the drunken, thieving, singing minstrels (Dewi Caswell ’14, Gabe Mollica ’14, Kerkira Stockton ’14 and John Boudreau ’14) to play. In other words, the audience was no longer simply watching the play; they were right in the middle of it.
A little known play written for Queen Elizabeth I of England as a result of her favoritism for the ridiculous, jovial and lustful character of Sir John Falstaff (Tommy Moriarty ’14), this all student production led by Lauren Lanzotti exuded effortless humor and the kind of wonder that one always associates with the famous bard. Shakespeare, forever a fan of dirty witticisms and innuendoes, riddled this play with these sublimely subtle jokes—befitting a farce about star—crossed lovers, a jealous to a lack of reason husband and a fat old knight so short on money he believes his only option is to make unfaithful lovers of two wealthy women.
Memorized, staged and performed in the course of six days, this truly was a wonderful exercise of the quick learned talent of the Hamilton community! Sometimes it is easy to forget that on the Hill that we have a number of talented actors even outisde the theatre department. These students, from a range of disciplines and with remarkably limited amount of rehearsal time, skillfully tapped into feelings of madness, vengeance, or drunken stupidity.
The production was a success. Whether one focused on the brilliant main characters who drove the plot, turned his attention to the promiscuous activities of the bar maid or watched as the flamboyant French Doctor Caius (Evan Warnock ’14) and Slender (Jack Coughlin ’15) both married incorrectly, one was never left without entertainment.