A 1970s “Merry Wives” at Folger Theatre


A lot is going on in Windsor. It’s a
happening town. Falstaff comes to town…Sir John Falstaff.
Big guy. He sees what he thinks as an opportunity to capitalize on his beauty (laughs)… And he figures the best way to get money is to get some sugar mamas. He sends letters to these two women who decide to take it upon themselves to teach him a lesson. They make a choice to take matters into their own hands, to be proactive… No one likes giving up power and men particularly don’t seem to be thrilled about the idea of handing power over to women. And it’s been a long slow process, but it really began in a new way in the 1970s. And there seemed to be something interesting and setting this play at that crux moment where women are saying, “Um, no. How about not…” (Aaron voiceover)
Various gifts arrive once you’re in the early 1970s. The seventies fashion is something that I’m very, very excited about. I asked for a wig that no storm could could move. Bell-bottoms and the wide collar…you’re going to see a lot of that… Well, the set…it’s so colorful and beautiful and it looks sort of like “The Brady Bunch” with the squares against the back wall that change colors… You know, it’s one of those things that you’re in a design meeting and at first we were just joking about it. And then we were like, “no, that’s actually pretty good.” I think Aaron inspires that creativity. Finding the nuts of something to blow it up in order to make it recognizable for the audience. He has really taken the time to focus in on each individual actor and says: how are you communicating
these words in a way that ring true to you? Because that’s what will ring true
to the audience. Well, yes there’s a lot of humanity, but mostly there’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of silly. It’s a lot of delightful. And did they do this in 1970? Always write on the bathroom wall “For a good time call…” Yeah, so for a
good time, call the Folger box office. (laughs)

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