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New Production of Shakespeare's 'Merry Wives' Set in a UWS Co-op The Bard's Classic Comedy Is Given a Real Estate Twist

A scene from the Drilling Company's production of 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' (Lee Wexler)

The world of real estate, especially condos and co-ops, has its share of unique characters and universal conflict. In a way, it's not that different from a William Shakespeare play.

So it's not too surprising that a new production at Manhattan's Bryant Park of the Bard's classic comedy, The Merry Wives of Windsor, is given a contemporary update, with the action taking place at an Upper West Side co-op.

For those unfamiliar with The Merry Wives of Windsor or haven't read it since high school, the play, written supposedly in 1597, is about a fat knight named John Falstaff who, in financial straits, tries to woo Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, two rich married women. The ladies later find out about Falstaff's scheme and turn the tables by tricking and humiliating him. A subplot also involves Mistress Page's daughter Anne, who is being courted by three men but only loves one of them. The result is a comedy of errors that leads to misadventures and a happy ending.

In this updated version of the play, produced by Drilling Company Shakespeare, the main character of Falstaff is now a real estate hustler, with Mistress Page is portrayed as a tiger mother, and Mistress Ford an activist, according to a press release for the production.

“I was thinking of what job a modern Falstaff would have,” Hamilton Clancy, the artistic director for Drilling Company Theatrical Productions, tells the The Cooperator about the real estate angle for this theater production. “I was trying to think of who is always hustling for buck and who has to interact between  people of all classes. High class and low class in a moment. Real estate agents seemed an obvious choice on the Upper West Side. They are all in suits and ties, but it's just as important to them to know the doorman.”

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