Submitted by Katherine D. Duke

A Wednesday eve to Webster did we come—
Ten students, a professor and myself—
To gather ‘round a table laid with tea
And carrot cake. What play was it this week?
They’d done MacBeth, and Romeo they chose
For Valentine’s. So which tonight? Pray tell!
The cake displayed our title in sweet script:

The Merry Wives of Windsor. Comedy!
(It’s one I’ve never read, and, so we learn,
The only one that Shakespeare ever set
In modern England—his own time and place.)

The others were old hands at this, it seemed:
They’d brought their own texts with them. But not I,
And so the fellow next to me would share.
Fair leader, Meghan Kemp-Gee ('07), cast the parts.
My role was tiny; I was there to watch.
And watch I did, and listen, as they read,
Becoming Rugby, Falstaff, Ford and Page
And 16 others—many double-cast,
Their voices switched, and accents, as required.
How strange to listen to the reader who,
In one scene, acted opposite himself!

Much merriment ensued: we laughed and groaned
At one another’s acting and the tale
That did unfold, of woo and trickery.
But best of all: the fellowship I saw
Among these Shakespeare geeks. Semesters three
Have passed since first Kemp-Gee began this rite,
This weekly meeting (not so oft, now that
Her thesis on The Tempest needs her time).
Some regulars have come, week after week,
And bonded over cake, tea and the Bard.
And this, a lovely Wednesday evening makes.