Setting the play in 1970’s Marin worked like a charm. We snuck every icon of Marin’s suburban-hippie heyday into the production from a peacock feather massage by a hot tub, to a roach-popping Mistress Quickly, to a love-bead-clad minister conducting the wedding ceremony. Herne’s Oak became a disco where the wives fed Falstaff LSD to send him on his bad trip. The audience loved it – from the giant beaded curtain on the set (which I somehow ended up stringing myself) to the bell bottom pants.
We had a wonderful cast for the lead roles. Jack Powell, who had played Jack Rugby in the Marin Shakespeare Festival production of the 1970’s, was a very funny Falstaff. Mary Knoll and Marie Shell were fantastic wives. Darren Bridgett was perfect as Ford. Rudy Guererro was a hilarious Dr. Caius. And Phoebe Moyer was a wonderfully stoned Mistress Quickly. We had a bunch of kids playing the kids and they all had a great time learning disco moves from Choreographer Cynthia Pepper beneath Ellen Brooks’ colorful lights. As Fenton might have said, it was “righteous!”
– Lesley Currier
From the Playbill - Director 's Notes:
“Merry Wives, Shakespeare’s only comedy set exclusively in England, is full of local references to contemporary events and people -- it is a middle class comedy set in the Queen’s backyard, the town of Windsor. Taking our cue from this, we have placed our production in Marin County and localized some of the place names and other references. Purists, beware!
In choosing an era best fitting the irresistible gaiety of this farce, we arrived in the 1970’s, back when Marin became the home of the hot tub and the human potential movement as chronicled in Cyra McFadden’s best-selling parody, The Serial -- a decade of excess and pretense in an affluent suburb analogous to the Windsor of the Fords and Pages and ripe for the free-loving schemes of Sir John Falstaff.