|Audition Notice||The Merry Wives of Windsor||
by William Shakespeare
Rob Ellis has a Masters in Theatre Directing from the University of East Anglia.
Directing includes The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Quite Right Theatre), Unicorn (Theatre N16), Bluebird (Katzpace), Six Pack (Leicester Square Theatre), A Matter Of Life and Debt, Positive (Edinburgh Fringe)
As Associate/Assistant: Bismillah! (UK Tour; Pleasance Theatre, Islington; VAULT Festival), The Three Musketeers (Iris Theatre, Covent Garden), A Princess Undone (Park Theatre), The Passing Of The Third Floor Back (Finborough Theatre)
For the Tower, Rob has directed The 39 Steps and Clybourne Park, but is usually kept busy as a sound designer, most recently for Antigone and Wolf Hall.
The director writes :
Ford and Page have a problem. Sir John Falstaff is broke, and plans on seducing them in order to get to their husbands money. But Falstaff is a creep, and the Wives are cunning. They'll outmanoeuvre his tricks and humiliate him instead. In a town and society with men at the centre, the women of Windsor must come together, and teach them all a lesson they'll never forget.
Ultimately, the idea is create a short, snappy Shakespeare, light on its feet, and quick in its wit. We'll be casting a minimum of 7 actors, and a maximum of 12, so there will be plenty of opportunity for multi-roling galore. Ideally, we want to bring together a group of exceptional people to have a fantastic time, both here in London, and also in Paris.
We're setting the play at the tail end of 1950's, height of Glyndebourne vintage glamour. There'll be singing and music, perhaps live, maybe a Globe-inspired jig or five.
This is my favourite Shakespeare comedy - I think it displays the height of his witticisms, and gives a cast a great ability to play. It's some of his strongest character work in my opinion, and I want this to be a production anyone can enjoy. And we want to have fun making it.
Actors would need to display a basic understanding of Shakespeare's text - don't have that? No fear! Please check out our workshops above!
The characters are :
I'll be adapting the script over the Christmas break, so a final draft has not yet been realised, nor a final character list. However, the main seven characters are listed below.
All characters are neutral casting, with the exception of Mistresses Ford and Page (Female) and John Falstaff (Male). Audition for whoever you like!
Mistress Ford : Friend of Mistress Page, married to Ford. When she receives a letter of intent from Falstaff, she plots with Mistress Page to humiliate him in front of the whole town.
Mistress Page : Friend of Mistress Ford, married to Page, mother of Anne Page. As well as making sure Falstaff gets his just desserts, Mistress Page is trying to marry her daughter off to Doctor Caius, when she really likes the lovely Fenton.
Falstaff : One of Shakespeare's most iconic characters, also appears in other plays. Rogue, knight, scoundrel, but not used to the countryside of Windsor, or the women who live there. He thinks himself a genius, but he really is a fool.
Ford : Married to Mistress Ford. An insanely jealous man. So jealous in fact he disguises himself as a character called Brooke to try and catch his wife with Falstaff. He needs bringing down a peg too.
Page : Married to Mistress Page, father of Anne Page. Doesn't believe for a second his wife would be so stupid as to cop off with Sir John Falstaff. Pushy with his daughter, wants her to marry the creepy Slender, and thinks nothing of the lovely Fenton.
Anne Page : Daughter of Page and Mistress Page. Finds herself caught between the foolish Doctor Caius and the slimy Slender. Really likes the lovely Fenton, and will do anything she can to be with him.
Mistress Quickly : Doctor Caius' assistant, and literally everybody else's messenger. Has a habit of misconstruing conversations into sexual innuendo, when that's definitely not the case at all.
Please read the play before auditioning. An electronic version (of the full play, not the edited rehearsal copy) is available from the Director, Rob Ellis.