SHAKESPEARE ON WHEELS
Artistic Director: Sam McCready
Producer: William T.Brown
Set Design: Bill Brown (8 productions), Lewis Shaw (As You Like It), Michael Griggs (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
Costume Design: Elena Zlotescu
Shakespeare on Wheels captures the spirit of bygone England's pageant wagons by traveling to from place to place, as was done in the Elizabethan era. Outdoor theatre, particularly of this caliber, should not be missed.
In short, Shakespeare on Wheels has a real winner with its Merry Wives of Windsor, now on the road as the troupe's ninth annual presentation on its unique flatbed- trailer- turned- stage. Some Shakespeare plays work better than others under picnic blanket conditions, and Merry Wives holds up well against mosquitoes, crying babies, passing airplanes and on the opening July 4 weekend - even fireworks.
The 2 1/2 hour comedy about the attempt of Sir John Falstaff to make love to Mistress Ford and Mistress Page entertained crowds on stage while actors and actress mingled with audience members off stage. "This is a fun way to put on a play," said John Hansen, 23, a senior at UMBC and actor behind the character Master George Page. "It's more fun to interact with the audience. The audience this way gets to cross the line into the world of Shakespeare."
Merry Wives lends itself to tinkering more than many other Shakespeare plays, but director Sam McCready keeps this production close to its Elizabethan roots, with a few exceptions. Most noticeably, the actors wear half-masks with exaggerated noses, designed by costumer Elena Zlotescu. The effect reminds us of what clowns these people are - without letting us forget their resemblance to ourselves.
Sam McCready's excellent direction distinguishes
this outstanding presentation. The superb physical action (always
a visual treat) has been painstakingly choreographed by McCready
down to the smallest movement. (He also plays Prospero and sings.)
The character development, interaction between actors and comedic
timing are all right on target.
The stunning 17th century black and gold costumes contrast smartly with the silver and white futuristic costumes (all created by UMBC staff member Elena Zlotesu). The set designed by William T. Brown, Is placed in a mystical white and silver Never Never Land.
Photo: Peggi Broyles
This year's innovative Macbeth is hardly shocking to followers of the five-year old troupe who have seen it put on The Comedy of Errors as an early 1920s vaudevillian' routine, and Twelfth Night as one of the Arabian Nights' tales. Although director McCready never touches the language of the plays, his twists give everyone a new way to look at the plays.
Photo: Tim Ford
For more archival information contact
Terry Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org