Folk song takes a front seat in this year’s production from Shakespeare in Clark Park. Under the Bard’s tale of love and mischief runs an original score by Andrew Nelson — including songs sung by the characters themselves — performed on washtub bass, mandolin, and others (you can catch Nero Catalano of Work Drugs on guitar and banjo). As for the play itself, imagine a Shakespearean comedy unfolding on the set of Oklahoma! — an ominous-sounding combination, only it’s actually brilliant, witty, and fun. Director Rebecca Wright, along with her cast and crew, has created a wonderfully articulated telling of “Merry Wives”, set in an simplistic rendering of a turn-of-the-century Dust Bowl town. (No fear: the Parson is still Welsh and the Doctor still French; language is preserved almost word-for-word). Sets and props are minimal but the performances are complex and colorful, communicating the tricks and revelry of the language in a way that the text alone never could. Add to it all the old-school folky musical stylings, and you’ve got a disarmingly marvelous show. The performance takes place every evening at 7 at the Bowl in Clark Park (43rd and Chester), running from today through Sunday, July 29th. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. More information is available on Shakespeare in Clark Park’s website.