Give the drama department an A- for their performance.
A great many play goers and film buffs have somewhat reluctantly placed the father of theater, William Shapespeare on a towering pedestal. He is infallible, he is a genius and his plays are masterpieces, they seem to exude. However true this may be, there is one thing worth recognizing. Shakespeare is only as great to the viewer as the particular cast in question performs him.
Wiliam Shakespeare wrote "The Merry Wives of Windsor" in 1598, which he created in 14 days. The drama department here at FJC has performed this same play in an updated, more modernized version.
The language difficulty in "Merry Wives" is seldom hampering. Most lines are clearly understandable, except when an actor or two begins swallowing their lines and each word seems only a part of a long boring poem.
An example of garbled lines is done by the character Fenton, played rather superficially by James Goodwin. In his one speech with Jacquie Mendenhall, who portrayed Mistress Quickly, he blandly dictates off a series of lines, which are fast, much too soft and unrecognizable.
Various other characters in the play, though, have done excellent jobs. There are several character types in the play, and each one has a funny, often discerning mode of distinction.
Mistress Ford, played by Debbie Tolpolnak, and Mistress Page, played by Joanne McAlpine are by far the funniest, most delightful pair ever to grace the Campus Theatre stage. Their uproarious conniving sardonic looks of pleasure, and obvious enjoyment in what they're doing, proves to be equally enjoyable for the audience.
An absurd, flamboyant portrayal of Dr. Caius was done by Kenneth Blackford. He kept the action moving with his consistency in movement and in striking countless indignant poses.
As a whole, the play moved rapidly, especially during the second act. In various scenes when the townspeople were huddled together, bit players, such as Dave Wilson and Philip Wissbeck, appeared too mechanical. This slowed the pace down a bit and proved to be distracting for the audience.
The set design was rather impressive. The revolving stage was clear and quite interesting to follow during the play's entirety. The glittering trees in the background became a bit monotonous, until the end. They were placed well in regard to the fairyland scene.
"The Merry Wives of Windsor" has made its debut at FJC. If we are to remember Shakespeare as a genius, we can surely recognize this particular production as a success in the old master's long line of credits.