FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Rustic Mechanicals Announce Cast and Tour Locations for The Merry Wives of Windsor

Clarksburg, WV – The state’s only Shakespeare troupe will launch its fourth annual West Virginia Shakespeare in the Parks statewide tour at the beginning of July.

Vintage Theatre Company Founding Producer and Artistic Director Jason A. Young cordially invites audiences to attend a performance of The Rustic Mechanicals’ Dissembling Knight Tour of William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Imagining that Mistress Ford and Mistress Page have each fallen for him, the fat knight, Sir John Falstaff, decides to seduce them both, as much for their husbands’ money as for their personal charms. Wise to the old rogue’s tricks, the women turn the table on him with a series of humiliating assignations and a very damp, extremely smelly laundry basket.

“I think this is the right show for our troupe and our audience right now,” said Young. “Our last two tours have been popular, audience challenging tragedies; this show is a farce in every sense of the word.”

The Rustic Mechanicals, founded by Celi Oliveto, is the state’s only professional Shakespeare troupe. Touring three shows annually, their second show of 2017 begins its tour with a performance at Blackwater Falls in Davis, West Virginia on Saturday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. followed by a return trip to Toad Hall in Grafton on Sunday, July 9 at 7:00 p.m.

“We refer to our summer tour as Shakespeare in the Parks,” said Young. “I think it is very appropriate to open the tour in one of our state’s greatest parks, Blackwater Falls.”

The troupe’s third tour performance will be a private showing for the students and faculty at the Governor’s School for the Arts at Marshall University on Monday, July 10.

“Last year, we took our summer show to the Governor’s Honors Academy,” said Young. “It’s important to us that we present each Shakespeare show we do to as many students as possible. These trips to the Governor’s Schools allow that to happen.”

The second weekend of The Dissembling Knight Tour kicks off with the inaugural Shinnston Shakespeare Weekend with performances at Ferguson Memorial Park on Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. before the troupe makes their way to Palatine Park in Fairmont for a 7:00 p.m. performance on Sunday, July 16.

The Rustic Mechanicals debuted in Shinnston and every year since have had two performances of each summer tour at Ferguson Park,” said Young. “But new this year, we are going to do the performances back to back and try to create some energy around a weekend with The Mechanicals.”

The final weekend of the tour begins with a Bard & BBQ performance at Herot Hall Farms in Kenna, West Virginia on Saturday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. A Rustic Mechanicals’ Bard & BBQ event features a pre-show catered BBQ dinner followed by our show. The tour will then conclude at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 23 at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater on the waterfront in Morgantown, West Virginia.

“Probably what is most exciting about this summer tour is how many first-time venues we will be visiting,” said Young. “This being our fourth summer show, I think it is wonderful that we can keep expanding our list of communities we visit and continue to develop relationships with arts presenters around our state.”

The Rustic Mechanicals, now in their fourth season, have grown from a troupe of seven actors to this year boasting a roster of twenty-five West Virginia artists.

Gretchen Ross and Kaici Lore headline this production as Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, the merry wives, with Josh Brooks as Master Ford and Justin Grow as Master Page, their cuckolded husbands. Jason A. Young takes on the iconic role of Sir John Falstaff. Sarah Young plays Mistress Anne Page with her suitors Slender, Dr. Caius, and Master Fenton played by Isaac Covey, Steve McElroy, and Michael Vozniak. Rounding out the cast are Samantha Huffman as Mistress Quickly and Aaron Harris as Sir Hugh Evans.

“This cast is a lot of fun to work with,” said Director Celi Oliveto. “We’re having a great time delving in to a very silly play and making sense of a potentially very confusing story line.”

With Oliveto at the helm of the production, David Byard serves as Technical Director and Trina Byard as Production Designer. Samantha Huffman is handling the show’s Hair & Make-Up Design. Production Management is being provided by Sarah Young and Maggie Baker and Dramaturgy by John Shirley.

“I guarantee that unless you took a Shakespeare course in college, and even then, the chances are you’ve never even heard of this play,” admitted Oliveto. “However, I think audiences will be surprised with how much they will laugh out loud at this production.”

For more information about The Dissembling Knight Tour of William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, email VintageTheatreCo@gmail.com or call 1-855-VTC-8588.

“I encourage our community to forget what they think they know about Shakespeare,” said Oliveto. “This play is far from uptight, stuffy, or difficult to understand; rather, this play would be more at home living in the world of the Three Stooges or I Love Lucy.”

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