Q&A with ‘Falstaff in Love’ Director Kevin Rich
On March 14, CU Theatre & Dance opens “Falstaff in Love,” Scott Kaiser’s brand new comedy about one of Shakespeare’s most infamous characters. CU Presents’ Erika Haase sat down with Director Kevin Rich to talk about this exciting premiere.
What’s “Falstaff in Love” about?
“Falstaff in Love” tells the origin story of Jack Falstaff, commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to be a prequel to Shakespeare’s “Henry IV pt 1.” Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth asked Shakespeare to write a comedy where his iconic character Jack Falstaff falls in love. Shakespeare wrote Merry Wives of Windsor, which was a comedy, but Falstaff wasn’t really in love. 400+ years later, Scott Kaiser has written a new play in which Falstaff really is in love.
What is it like directing a new play?
When directing a play that’s being produced for the first time ever, our priority is to serve the playwright. Scott Kaiser, who wrote the play, was in residence with us for the first week of rehearsals, offering feedback and insight about his script and making adjustments to the script based on what he was hearing in rehearsal. He’ll be back in town to the show as well, which we’re all very excited about.
What has been the most challenging aspect of directing “Falstaff?”
There haven’t been any major challenges; Scott has written a terrific play that has been great fun to work on. He has a deep knowledge of Shakespeare’s language and rhetoric, and painstakingly echoed Shakespeare’s style in writing this play (in fact, there’s not a single word in it that doesn’t appear in Shakespeare’s canon at least once). Consequently, it has really felt like we’re working on a long-lost Shakespeare play!
What has been the most rewarding?
This is the academic premiere of this production, and it hasn’t yet received its professional world premiere, so our actors are originating these roles. Scott has promised the cast and design/production team that their names will be included when the play is published, which everyone involved is thrilled about.
Is there anything else you’d like audiences to know or that you’d like to add?
The show runs under 90 minutes without an intermission. Also, in Shakespeare’s day, the actors would entertain the audience before the show with a musical pre-show of contemporary songs, so we’re doing the same thing. If you’d like to hear our talented performers play and sing some popular current songs, arrive ten minutes before the show starts!
“Falstaff in Love” runs March 14-17. Tickets start at $16 and are limited.