According to legend, William Shakespeare was commanded by Queen Elizabeth to write a play about Sir John Falstaff in love. The catch was that it had to be written within fourteen days. To write a play and rehearse it in two weeks flat, does seem a tall an order, even for that fast-writing genius, Will Shakespeare, and his talented company. But it makes for a good story! The result was "The Merry Wives of Windsor". The first performance is reputed to have been in the Palace of Westminster on St George's Day, 23 April - and Shakespeare's own birthday. When his mate, Ben Jonson comes to give Will a hand, things are looking up, but when all his boy apprentices go down with the measles, things look black. Who will play the women's parts? The resourceful Ben entices some local wives, in great secrecy, to take on these parts. To add to the confusion, the local priest brings in a bevy of children to sing, a jealous husband tries to unmask his erring wife, local bailiffs chase Will for his overdue rates, and a bear-keeper is searching for his lost bear. The play finally goes on despite the chaos, but will the Queen see through the deception?
The play turns out to be a success, but there's a big surprise in store for Will.
Buy By Royal Command book by Reg Mitchell from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(210mm x 145mm x 8mm)
Publisher: Stratford Playscripts
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Author Biography - Reg Mitchell
Reg Mitchell was born in Bradford, where he trained at the Playhouse, becoming an Associate of the Drama Board of Great Britain. He was awarded an OBE in 1989 and now lives in Warwickshire. He has several plays to his credit, including Hallmarks (Shakespeare Centre 1998); By Royal Command (commissioned for the Shakespeare millennium birthday celebrations); a Victorian musical adaptation of Dickens' famous ghost story, A Christmas Carol (RSC Swan Theatre, 1999) Great Expectations (Stratford-upon-Avon 1995), and Oliver Twist. Other plays include Love Letters in Four Acts, about the final years of Anton Chekhov's life (1999), two plays about the Brontes, and a seasonal mystery, But Once a Year. Musicals include Elves! The Musical, and Alice!