Shakespeare: The Feminist by Linda Duncan McLaughlin

I started thinking about adapting Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor around 2019, when fellow actor Janette Foggo and I sat in a coffee shop, talking the world to rights. Among the issues we were most passionate about was #MeToo and how we, along with most women (and men) we knew, wanted to confront the thorny issues of abuse of power by powerful men. As a writer I felt I had at least some of the tools to do that, and Merry Wives presented a perfect opportunity.

It’s not the best-known play in the canon but like many of the comedies it’s an exploration of, and celebration of, female power and agency. It’s centred in a domestic rather than a world stage and, although it was written more than four hundred years ago, some of the male attitudes – seeing women as easy prey, or property, or powerless – have plenty of resonance and relevance for us, here, now. Those attitudes are both scrutinised and mercilessly lampooned in Merry Wives ('Shakespeare the Feminist: Discuss') and I wanted to capture that comedy while holding on to the underlying messages about respect and trust that the original play champions. I hope I’ve succeeded in doing that in updating the action to present-day Maryhill - at the same time, of course, as taking the opportunity for a couple of sideswipes at some well-known modern Falstaffs. You know who they are…

Linda Duncan McLaughlin is the writer of A Play, A Pie and A Pint's The Merry Wives of Wyndford, which is coming to Macrobert from Thu 1 - Sat 3 Jun.

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