As a young child, Taylor Hawker would run up to the altar during sermons and mimic the priest. The churchgoers loved it and Hawker’s mom thought he would become a priest one day.

But, really, the young boy just loved having a “captive audience” to perform in front of.

“I think my favorite part about doing theater,” Hawker said, “is that it’s so great to tell stories, hearing stories and being a part of meaningful stories.”

His natural flair for comedy, love of theater and his current job as a Craft Beer Specialist for Craig Stein Beverages made him an oddly perfect actor for the legendary Shakespearean character Sir John Falstaff.

“Falstaff, from an audience perspective, could be not all that likable,” Hawker said. “He’s brash, he’s ignorant, he’s arrogant, but the fun part that I have, from an actor’s standpoint, is that I love making people love that character.”

Hawker will perform the role of Falstaff in The Boise Bard Players’ production of “The Merry Wives Of Windsor.” They will put on this play six times throughout two weekends, plus a preview at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 21 at Lakeview Park.

First, the show will be at The Bishops’ House at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 22; Saturday, July 23; and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 24. Then, it will be at Watson’s Mystery Cafe at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 30. Tickets range from $20 to $50 on

The play is one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies and is almost like a modern sitcom, according to Chris Canfield, artistic director of the Boise Bard Players.

It is about Falstaff’s plan to seduce both Mistress Page (Jeni Montzka-Beal) and Mistress Ford (Edith Dull) by sending each the same love letter. When the women realize they received the same message, they begin plotting revenge. Meanwhile, Master Ford (Dan Vogt) believes his wife is unfaithful and tries to catch her in the act.

“[In Shakespeare’s plays] a lot of times the female characters, while they may not have the biggest roles, they end up being the smartest,” Canfield said. “They have insight that men just blow past. In ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor,’ we see women totally mess with the men around them from the get-go.”

All the men and women in the Boise Bard Players live in the Boise area. Canfield said they cast all local actors to highlight the talent, creativity and voice of the area.

“There are plenty of actors here,” Canfield said, “with all the necessary skills, who are hungry to be a part of this, and tell stories that it just makes sense to me to have all local actors.”

The actors themselves come from all experience levels, from people just out of college, those who haven’t acted in years to actors with many shows under their belts.

“It is such a really, really awesome environment that the Boise Bard players have created because it creates new ideas,” Hawker said. “A lot of the actors that are in the show I’ve worked with before, but sometimes the best is when we have somebody new in there to give us a fresh perspective on a scene.”

Originally posted on by Nick Danlag on July 21, 2022.