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'Merry Wives' wage battle of the sexes on Emma Kelly stage

"Here will be an old abusing of God's patience and the King's English" — just in time for 400th ann


April 19, 2016

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The Averitt STARs are bringing William Shakespeare’s boisterous battle of the sexes, The Merry Wives of Windsor, to the Emma Kelly Theater the weekend of April 22–24. 
 
The story follows the seemingly merry but always scheming Sir John Falstaff, as he attempts to seduce and con two of the wealthiest women in the town of Windsor. However, his wit is outmatched by Mistress Page and Mistress Ford as they discover his true intentions and begin a plot of their own. As the mistresses' husbands become enraged by jealousy, the women bring all manner of haughty and pretentious men to their senses in one of Shakespeare’s funniest comedies. 
 
Director Jackie Gordon is excited that this show was chosen for the Averitt STARs' first Shakespearean play to be performed in the Emma Kelly Theater — especially because the Saturday performance will fall on 400th anniversary of the prolific playwright's death, which is being commemorated this week in festivals worldwide.
 
“The Averitt STARs community theater group expressed a need to perform more challenging material, so Shakespeare was suggested,” said Gordon. “This performance is a great introduction to Shakespearean theater because it gives the actors an opportunity to play with Shakespeare’s words through physical comedy.”
 
Playing the leading role of Sir John Falstaff is Averitt STARs veteran Brooks Adams, who won Best Actor at the 2014 Emma Awards for his performance of Juror #4 in 12 Angry Jurors. Nikki Schultz, whom you might recognize from the choruses of Dream Girls and South Pacific, is cast as Mistress Ford. Playing her femme fatale counterpart as the role of Mistress Page is Brittani Howell, who made her theater debut in 2015 as Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest. 
 
Together, these three performers lead the cast through a series of mischievous capers that will keep the audience laughing well after the show has ended, with a 1940s film noir-esque aesthetic for an added theatrical twist. 
 
“It’s been such a joy to work with these actors because there is so much chemistry between them, which makes the show so much fun to watch,” said Gordon. 
 
For those who fear that the Bard's Elizabethan English will go over their heads, Gordon assures that the language of the play will not detract from entertaining the audience. 
 
“I think the community will enjoy this show in particular because it doesn’t feel like Shakespeare. It’s really a show for everybody,” Gordon said.
 
The show will run at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 24.
 
Tickets are $15 for adults ($13 for members) and $10 for youth. To reserve your ticket, please call the Averitt Center for the Arts at (912) 212-2787 during box office hours or purchase online at www.averittcenterforthearts.org. Box office hours are Tuesday–Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m

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