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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shakespeare for Everybody



From one member of the audience for Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor --


"i saw merry wives at wyuka tonight . . . i don’t usually get shakespeare, but . . . i loved it big time . . . the acting is just outstanding . . . hats off to melissa, joel and becky. . . and an oh so cute robie . . . i laughed very hard and swallowed two bugs . . . great night! thanks for all your obvious hard work! you all rocked it!"


And from another audience member --


"I thought the Merry Wives production excellent. I thought that it communicated what Shakespeare’s language is saying and did so, in Horace’s phrase, so as to teach and delight during the whole show."


Tickets for the final three shows are going fast, so reserve your seats now by calling 473-2897.

Performances of Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Bob Hall, continue Friday through Sunday, June 19-21, in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students.

Photo: Dick Nielsen as Master Ford in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by John Nollendorfs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Audience Comments


Checked out Merry Wives last night . . . OUTSTANDING!!

Congratulations on MWW! It is a triumph, and the buzz among the audience was very positive. If you don’t break records, you should.

Great Play! Well done by All! Flatwater Shakespeare Company is a treasure!




More quotes – these from audience members who attended the second weekend’s performances of Flatwater Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Tickets for the last four shows are going fast, so reserve your seats now by calling 473-2897.

Performances continue Thursday through Sunday, June 18-21, in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students.

Photo: Dick Nielsen as Master Ford and Stephen Buhler as Master Page in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by John Nollendorfs.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Letters, We Get Letters


Thanks for a wonderful evening of Shakespeare . . . you've got a great show. Thoroughly enjoyable. We all had a great time last night and I've "told the world"...or well, at least, all that world that is my friend on Facebook. Best to you for a great run.

What troupers you are. I really think "Wives" is as close to a sit-com as we'll ever get from Will. You guys got that! I've been doing the buzz about the show all day.

The play was brilliant! Once again, we are incredibly impressed with what Bob Hall and all of you can bring about. I'm telling everyone I know to see it! (And if I had oodles of $, I'd give a big chunk of it to Flatwater!)

For great entertainment, you can't miss with the current Flatwater production of Merry Wives of Windsor. Bob Hall, Steve Buhler and company have created a wonderful production!

I just wanted to commend you on a wonderful performance and overall production with The Merry Wives of Windsor! My friends were very impressed – and it at first took some coercing to prompt them to give Shakespeare a try. Needless to say, the innuendo, wit, and woman-dominating-piggish-men themes resonated with them and spawned a very fruitful conversation afterwards. It was a delightful show, and you all seemed to so enjoy doing it.

We had a wonderful time - laughed til it hurt and loved every moment! Thanks!

The show WAS great! Let the sky rain potatoes, indeed!


Those quotes are from audience members who attended opening weekend performances of Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Tickets are going fast, so reserve your seats now by calling 473-2897.


Performances continue Thursdays through Sundays, June 11-14 and 18-21, in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another Great Review


Flatwater Shakespeare perfects ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’
Daily Nebraskan, June 7, 2009

The Merry Wives of Windsor are having far too much fun. In this presentation of William Shakespeare’s comedic play, the actors are having at least as much of a good time as the audience.

Merry Wives is one of Shakespeare’s few plays set in his native England and features the reoccurring character of Sir John Falstaff, first seen in Henry IV. Falstaff, an aging, portly and not terribly brave knight, has schemed to fleece two married ladies of their husbands’ money by seducing both of them. Little does he know that the ladies, Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, have compared notes, not to mention his duplicate love letters, and are doing a little scheming of their own.

Between Falstaff and his drunken companions, the clever wives, jealous husbands, and three different lovelorn swains all chasing the lovely daughter Anne Page, hilarity ensues.

Falstaff is well played by Joel Story, who has the booming voice to go with his impressive figure. Mistress Meg Page is portrayed by Becky Key Boesen and Mistress Alice Ford by Sasha Dobson, both of whom obviously relish their roles, as does Melissa Lewis Nuss, who plays Mistress Quickly, the go-between for the prospective “lovers.”

Much of the humor is provided by Trent Stork as the effeminate Master Slender and Robie Hayek as the ridiculous French physician Dr. Caius, each competing for the hand of lovely young Anne Page.

By far the most hilarious moment is a “duel” between Dr. Caius and the Welsh Parson Sir Hugh, played by Ryan Kathman. Between the dueling accents and competitive butchering of the English language, they barely manage to cross blades and when they do, each is clearly as surprised as the other.

The Swan Theater is small and intimate, set in the open air courtyard of what was once Wyuka Cemetery’s carriage house and stable. The play is presented in the round, with the actors portraying their parts with three rows of seated audience on either side, and the occasional sly wink in the audience’s direction.

For all of you who have only ever read Shakespeare in high school, this is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate [one of his works] how it was intended to be enjoyed. It is also a more economical way to spend an evening, for those of us who can’t afford expensive summer concert tickets.

Take bread to feed the ducks and geese at the neighboring pond, but beware the swans. And beware The Merry Wives of Windsor – cross them at one’s own peril!


The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents The Merry Wives of Windsor in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln. Performances continue Thursdays through Sundays, June 11-14 and 18-21. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 484-7640 for reservations.

Photo: Trent Stork as Master Slender in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Brad Boesen.

Friday, June 05, 2009

A Surefire Must See


Review: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Lincoln Journal Star Friday, Jun 05, 2009


He is rotund, randy and a rapscallion.

And he is one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved comedic characters.

But while actor Joel Story delivers a highly entertaining performance as Sir John Falstaff in the Flatwater Shakespeare production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, he is not the star of the presentation.

That honor needs to be spread across the play’s 19-member cast, including Story.

This Bob Hall-directed piece ranks as one of the best total ensemble acting accomplishments of the Flatwater company.

Story supplies a wonderfully toothy theatrical countenance of lechery in his portrayal of the scoundrel Falstaff, who hopes to aid his financial status by wooing a pair of married women.

But from Becky Key Boesen and Sasha Dobson as the two wives to Stephen Buhler and Dick Nielsen as their husbands, with solid support from Melissa Lewis Nuss, Ryan Kathman, Robie Hayek, Nathan Weiss, Larry Mota, Trent Stork, Gage Wallace and young Sam Colwell, one would have to look far and wide to find a more complete, committed and engaged cast.

Bold and bawdy, The Merry Wives of Windsor is a surefire must see.


The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents The Merry Wives of Windsor in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln. Performances continue Friday through Sunday, June 5-7; and Thursdays through Sundays, June 11-14 and 18-21. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 484-7640 for reservations.


Photo: Ryan Kathman as Parson Evans and Robie Hayek as Doctor Caius in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Brad Boesen.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Wives May Be Merry

In Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mistress Alice Ford and Mistress Meg Page ultimately triumph not only over Sir John Falstaff but also over a prejudicial notion that was widely shared in Elizabethan times. Audiences then, as now, admired their sharp wits and quick tongues – but their candid talk defied a key element in the Renaissance ideal of womanhood as "chaste, silent, and obedient."

They’re definitely not silent, so people of the era could wonder about the other two qualities. Falstaff, partly flattering himself, is especially convinced of Alice’s being inclined to stray from chastity and obedience. " I do mean to make love to Ford’s wife," he says. "I spy entertainment in her: she discourses, she carves, she gives the leer of invitation" (1.3.41-43).

To talk extensively (as suggested by discourse) and skillfully (another sense of the word carve) means – for Falstaff and others – to be sexually available. Master Frank Ford, torturing himself, may feel insecure about his wife partly for the same reason.

Meg Page, however, provides a deft moral for the entire play: "We’ll leave a proof, by that which we will do, / Wives may be merry, and yet honest too" (4.2.94-95).

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents The Merry Wives of Windsor in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln, beginning Thursday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue Friday through Sunday, June 5-7; and Thursdays through Sundays, June 11-14 and 18-21. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 484-7640 for reservations.

Photo: Becky Key Boesen as Meg Page and Sasha Dobson as Alice Ford in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo credit: Brad Boesen.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Thou Wast a Bull for Thy Europa

There’s a long-standing story that her majesty, Queen Elizabeth I herself, commissioned Shakespeare to write The Merry Wives of Windsor. One of Shakespeare’s early adapters, John Dennis, asserted this as a fact – some one hundred years after the work’s first performance.

A few years later, one of Shakespeare’s first editors, Nicholas Rowe, explained her majesty’s interest: Elizabeth "was so well pleased with the admirable character of Falstaff in the two parts of Henry IV that she commanded [Shakespeare] to continue it for one play more, and to show him in love."


This story would never have received general acceptance unless readers and audiences actually perceived an amorous Sir John in The Merry Wives of Windsor. So we need to consider that on a certain level Falstaff is indeed in love – as he compares himself to the god Jupiter, who transformed himself into various animals when in love with mortal women.


Or perhaps Falstaff, like Jupiter, is not so much "in love" as in lust. Or perhaps he falls in love with the idea of still being attractive to Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. In any case, if it were only a matter of calculation about their husbands’ money, it’s not likely that he’d keep risking and facing such humiliation.


Later artists have drawn similar conclusions. When Giuseppe Verdi was lured back to comic opera by librettist Arigo Boito, Sir John’s doomed campaign to be loved by the Merry Wives became the central concern for their opera Falstaff (1893). Later, when Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote an opera (1924-28) based on the play, he entitled it Sir John in Love.


The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents The Merry Wives of Windsor in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln, beginning Thursday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue Friday through Sunday, June 5-7; and Thursdays through Sundays, June 11-14 and 18-21. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 484-7640 for reservations.


Photo: Andrew Shore as Falstaff in the English National Opera’s 2006 production of Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love.