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Theatre

Bawdy and naughty, the Merry Wives of Windsor demo their wiles at Shakespeare & Company

MaConnia Chesser, Nigel Gore, and Jennie M. Jadow as Meg Page, Sir John Falstaff, and Alice Ford (respectively) in The Merry Wives of Windsor; photo by Nile Scott Studios.
MaConnia Chesser, Nigel Gore, and Jennie M. Jadow as Meg Page, Sir John Falstaff, and Alice Ford (respectively) in The Merry Wives of Windsor; photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Stirred up by just the right cast, the production is a winning recipe of conspiracy, chaos, and comedy.

No youth with a shred of decency or self-respect should seek to emulate Sir John Falstaff. On the other hand, if you happen already to be plump and middle-aged, yet randy as ever despite increasingly rusty charms, you could be forgiven for taking some winking inspiration from the dissolute knight’s bacchanalian habits. Cantankerous and crafty, Falstaff, dubbed “Shakespeare’s greatest creation” by Orson Welles, is the rotund and besotted hub of The Merry Wives of Windsor, on stage now through September 1 in the Roman Garden Theatre at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox.

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Theatre Review:
The Children at Shakespeare & Company

Diane Prusha, as Hazel, in Lucy Kirkwood's The Children, on stage at Shakespeare & Company until August 18; photo by Nile Scott Studios.
Diane Prusha, as Hazel, in Lucy Kirkwood's The Children, on stage at Shakespeare & Company until August 18; photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Not much gives away what a slap across the psyche a drama is going to be, what a shish kebob skewer in the heart, what a sap in the kidney, like a funny first act. And the first act of The Children, an Obie Award nominee by Lucy Kirkwood, is really, really funny.

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Review: Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘The Waverly Gallery’ With Annette Miller

Photo from the play, The Waverly Gallery, (Left to Right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Annette Miller, and David Gow; photo by Daniel Rader.
(Left to Right) Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Annette Miller, and David Gow; photo by Daniel Rader.

We’ve had a running joke in our house about much how we enjoy a production that’s “ultimately life-affirming” after seeing one billed that way years ago. The show was superb, and I wanted to scrub the depressing, kinda icky residue out of my memory with a pumice stone and some strong lye soap for a few days afterwards. The life-affirming part, I think, was that none of the lives portrayed was my own. So I’m going to be cautious in describing The Waverly Gallery, on stage now at Shakespeare & Company.

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REVIEW: The Last Days
of Judas Iscariot

viewed 03/07/19

Before the doors leading into the CenterStage open at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, audience members waiting to see The Last Days of Judas Iscariot are invited to form lines behind three candle-bearers. We are led into a solemn scene lit by a single streetlight, where we stand before a woman who is mourning the death of her child. Another figure sits behind her at a quiet distance. The mother talks about her own pain and the shock of losing a grown son coupled with the excruciating memory of how alone he was in the end. Is this Mary, mother of Jesus?

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