Appalachian Shakespeare Project Presenting 'The Merry Wives Of Windsor' At Concord Univeristy

For Immediate Release: 
Jul 18 2012

CONTACT: Sarah Dalton
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312,


ATHENS, W.Va. - William Shakespeare’s comedy “The Merry Wives of Windsor” will be offered in three outdoor performances on Concord University’s Athens campus July 27-29. The Appalachian Shakespeare Project, now in its third season, is in charge of the production.

The performances will begin at 6 p.m. nightly in front of the Fine Arts Center. While limited seating will be provided, guests are encouraged to bring their own camp chairs and blankets. Picnics are also welcome. Admission is “pay-as-you-can.”

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” tells the story of Sir John Falstaff, one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comic creations, who finds himself, in his own phrase, “almost out at heels” and decides to raise money by seducing two wealthy married women, the “merry wives” of the title. When the two virtuous but witty wives compare notes and figure out what Falstaff intends, they set about teaching him a lesson. As one of the wives, Mistress Page, says “We’ll leave a proof, by that which we will do, / Wives may be merry, and yet honest (i.e. virtuous) too.”

In the meantime, three different suitors vie for the affections (and inheritance) of the beautiful young Anne Page, and she conspires with her own beloved to deceive her parents, and the awful suitors they have chosen for her, and marry for love.

Concord University Assistant Professor of English Gabriel Rieger continues his role as executive project director this year while also serving as director of the 2012 production.

“We chose ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ because it is tremendously entertaining comedy, full of slapstick humor and some very funny wordplay,” Rieger said. “Also, since we presented ‘Macbeth’ last summer, we wanted to explore some of Shakespeare’s lighter fare this year. Our hope is that by alternating between comedies and tragedies from year to year, we can give the audience a full range of Shakespeare’s drama.”

“We feel that the significance of offering Shakespeare to the larger community is simply to share one of the world’s great literary treasures in a way that everyone can enjoy,” Rieger said. “We realize that there is a lot of baggage attached to Shakespeare. People respect Shakespeare, and they study him in school, but they don’t often get the chance to see how much fun, and how exciting, Shakespeare can be in performance.

“Beyond this, the Appalachian Shakespeare Project believes that because Shakespeare holds such a revered position in the English-speaking world, producing his plays gives our performers the valuable opportunity to explore his work in detail, and allows our audience to appreciate his dramas live in performance,” he said. “Offering the Concord University community quality Shakespeare in performance is the core of our project.”

The Appalachian Shakespeare Project originated in summer of 2010 at Concord with Erin Bone Steele as director of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Steele, who also directed “Macbeth,” is serving as a consultant on this year’s production.

Beckley resident Christopher Clay, an English major and student research assistant at Concord, is stage manager. Chris Bone of Athens, in her third season with the project, serves as costume designer and properties manager.

Additional members of the cast and crew include Concord students and actors from around the area.

The Appalachian Shakespeare Project is sponsored by the Division of Languages and Literature at Concord University. “The Merry Wives of Windsor” is funded in part by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

For more information call 304-384-5251 or email

(Official Humanities Council disclosure: This project is being presented by Concord University with financial assistance from The West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.)


Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086 if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.