For the final installment in our 2006 seriers we ended with one Shakespeare's most more comic and problematic plays. "All's Well That Ends Well". The story of young girl, Helena, who by her own cunning and cleverness overcoming class, circumstance and an pig-headed husband, Bertram, to finally win his love and respect OR the story of social climbing wench who entraps a man who would rather be off making a name for himelf than being married to someone he doesn't love. No punches or tricks are pulled in this quirky take on class struggles. It may just depend on your point of view.
Lavatch, a clown, comically informs the Countess of Roussillon and her gentlewoman of the doings of her wayward son Bertram and the king who is dying of an ulcer with no cure in site. David Brearly High School field, Kenilworth, NJ
Bertram (Morgan Nichols) and Helena (Jaqueline Thuener-Rego) are happily joined as his mother the from left to right Parolles (Michael Hagins), the Countess, Diana (Laura Mae Baker), and attendants look on in the final scene of All' s Well That Ends Well but the couse of this love never did run smooth. Show Publicity shot. Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ
Cured of his illness, the King (Frank Franconeri) rewards Helena (Jaqueline Thuener-Rego) by giving her any man she wants. Much to Bertram (Morgan Nichols) chagrin, she chooses him. Bertram tells Helena that he will never be a husband to her until Helena can get pregnant by him and a ring from his finger.and leaves for Italy. David Brearly High School, Kenilworth, NJ
Parolles (Michael Hagins, left), Bertram's (Morgan Nichols) flamboyant and motor mouth friend, carries on incessantly as Bertram tries to see the ailing king. David Brearly High School, Kenilworth, NJ
The Bed Trick's afoot as Helena (Jaqueline Thuener-Rego) follows Bertram to Italy and with tha assistance of the young Diana (Laura Mae Baker, above), seated and her mother, trick Bertram into sleeping with Helena and take his ring thus satisfying the conditions to "win" him. Helena also fakes her own death to grieve the king and put pressure on Bertram. Shakespeare Festival Theater, Stratford, CT
Helena ((Jaqueline Thuener-Rego, left), a servant in the house of the Countess and the daughter of a famous Physician, tells the Countess of her love for Bertram. David Brearly High School Field, Kenilworth, NJ
Helena (Jaqueline Thuener-Rego) using her late father's knowledge of medicines treats the King of France's (Frank Franconeri) case of terminal illness. David Brearly High School Field, Kenilworth, NJ
Diana (Laura Mae Baker), the woman that Bertram thinks he beded in Italy arrives claiming to be his wife and as proof displays a ring that she got from Bertram. Stratford Festival Theater, Stratford, CT
Revealing herself to be alive, pregnant by Bertram by way of the bedtrick with Diana (Laura Mae Baker) and having gotten his family ring, Bertram (Morgan Nichols) conceeds publically to accept Helena (Jaqueline Thuener-Rego) as his wife. Stratford Festival Theater, Stratford, CT
Helena, the orphan daughter of a famous physician, is the ward of the Countess of Rousillon, and hopelessly in love with her son, Count Bertram, who has been sent to the court of the King of France. Despite her beauty and worth, Helena has no hope of attracting Bertram, since she is of low birth and he is a nobleman. However, when word comes that the King is ill, she goes to Paris and, using her father's arts, cures the illness. In return, she is given the hand of any man in the realm; she chooses Bertram. Her new husband is appalled at the match, however, and shortly after their marriage flees France, accompanied only by a scoundrel named Parolles, to fight in the army of the Duke of Florence.
Helena is sent home to the Countess, and receives a letter from Bertram informing her that he will never be her true spouse unless she can get his family ring from his finger, and become pregnant with his child--neither of which, he declares, will ever come to pass. The Countess, who loves Helena and approves of the match, tries to comfort her, but the distraught young woman departs Rousillon, planning to make a religious pilgrimage..
Meanwhile, in Florence, Bertram has become a general in the Duke's army. Helena comes to the city, and discovers that her husband is trying to seduce the virginal daughter of a kindly Widow. With the connivance of the daughter, named Diana, she contrives to trick Bertram: he gives Diana his ring as a token of his love, and when he comes to her room at night, Helena is in the bed, and they make love without him realizing that it is her. At the same time, two lords in the army expose Parolles as a coward and a villain, and he falls out of Bertram's favor. Meanwhile, false messengers have come to the camp bearing word that Helena is dead, and with the war drawing to a close, Bertram decides to return to France. Unknown to him, Helena follows, accompanied by Diana and the Widow.
In Rousillon, everyone is mourning Helena as dead. The King is visiting, and consents to Bertram marrying the daughter of an old, faithful lord, named Lafew. However, he notices a ring on Bertram's finger that formerly belonged to Helena--it was a gift from the King after she saved his life. (Helena gave the ring to Diana in Florence, and she in turn gave it to her would-be lover.) Bertram is at a loss to explain where it came from, but just then Diana and her mother appear to explain matters--followed by Helena, who informs her husband that both his conditions have been fulfilled. Chastened, Bertram consents to be a good husband to her, and there is general rejoicing.