It’s Shakespeare in the Park season and, as our Summer Guide indicates, there are a slew of offerings all over the state from which to choose. It wouldn’t be summer in Providence, however, without Bob Colonna’s TRIST performing a Bard classic in Roger Williams National Memorial Park (282 N Main St). This year, TRIST gives us The Merry Wives of Windsor through June 30.
Windsor features Shakespeare’s favorite rogue, Falstaff, as he plots to seduce two wealthy women for their money, but finds himself the butt of several embarrassing pranks produced by first the wives, and then the whole town. TRIST has streamlined the story, cutting out the entire subplot, “which is clumsy anyway,” according to Colonna, “and went with the main story of Falstaff’s lumbering flirtations and the machinations of the unreasonably jealous Master Ford.” The result is a shorter version of Windsor that still packs in two acts of laughter. Colonna adds, “This is not only Shakespeare’s funniest play, but also his most feminist.”
While some would counter that Merry Wives displays a less-than-classic take on Falstaff (as compared to the Henry IV outings), the play nevertheless has (and had) its adherents, including Antonio Salieri’s operatic adaptation, so perhaps it only seems mediocre by association.
This take on Windsor features TRIST favorites Julian Ruth Trilling, Jeffrey Ouellette, Cherylee Sousa Dumas, Geoff White and Mark Carter, among others.
Weather is always a factor, so keep that in mind when planning to head downtown, but you’ll have plenty of chances as Windsor runs three weekends, Thursday through Sunday at 8pm. Bring a picnic basket and a lawn chair or blanket; the few seats in the park fill up quickly.
TRIST presents Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, June 14-30, Roger Williams National Memorial, 282 N Main St, PVD. Admission is free, courtesy of RWNM. All showtimes at 8pm, Thu – Sun.