Library Talk to Explore The Merry Wives of Windsor
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, June 27, 2013 – Saratoga Shakespeare Company president and Skidmore professor Jay Rogoff will discuss “Falstaff’s Fall: An Introduction to The Merry Wives of Windsor,” on Monday, July 8, at 7 PM. The talk takes place in Dutcher Community Room of the Saratoga Springs Public Library, 48 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs, and is free and open to the public. It is designed to enhance the audience’s enjoyment of this summer’s free Saratoga Shakespeare production of Shakespeare’s comedy.
Rogoff will explore how the fat, cowardly knight Falstaff, Shakespeare’s great comic creation from his Henry IV plays, fares in a comedy supposedly written to show him in a romantic mood. Merry Wives displays Shakespeare’s ingenuity in multiple plotting. It features Falstaff’s ridiculous attempts to seduce two clever Windsor wives, balanced with the competition among three suitors to woo young Anne Page, one of the wives’ daughters. Like many of his comedies, it showcases the intelligence and virtue of its leading women.
Merry Wives… is also a specifically English comedy. Set just outside London, in Windsor—for centuries one of the British royal family’s homes—it celebrates English values and the English language. Legend has it—though no hard evidence supports it—that Queen Elizabeth commissioned the play from Shakespeare because she wished to see Falstaff as a lover. Rogoff will also explore how the play investigates the beginnings of class conflict in Elizabethan England, with Falstaff, an impoverished member of the gentry, attempting to prey on two middle-class wives.
Saratoga Shakespeare’s free professional production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by David Girard, will be set in raffish 1930s Saratoga as part of the Saratoga 150 celebration. The play runs July 16-28 on the Alfred Z. Solomon Stage in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs. Tuesday through Saturday performances begin at 6:30 PM, with Sunday matinees at 3 PM. The production is funded in part by the Saratoga Program for Arts Funding, made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and Saratoga Arts.