“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.”
As I write this, we are just beginning the second week of rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s my third time directing this play – a play that launched both my love of Shakespeare and my career in the theatre when I first saw it in elementary school. Back then it was the Fairies that captured me. In high school it was the Mechanicals, who I rediscovered alongside Monty Python and Spinal Tap. In my 20s it was the Lovers, as forlorn and reckless as I often was in love. And now? I’m back with the Fairies, but with a new interest in Titania’s role as adoptive mother to the Changeling boy, now that I am a mother of two boys.
I also have a new appreciation for the central couple, Theseus and Hippolyta, whose complicated engagement starts the whole adventure. Theseus, the founder of democracy, initially reluctant to reconsider some rather draconian policies around marriage, has a change of heart – perhaps due to the influence of his new bride. Hippolyta is herself that rare creature Shakespeare would have recognized, a powerful female monarch. She, a stranger in a strange land, doesn’t say much, but her silences speak volumes.
As they navigate their uneasy alliance, Theseus speaks the lines above. I’ve always wondered – are the lovers the lunatics, and the mechanicals the lovers? Or perhaps the fairies are the lunatics, the lovers are themselves, and the mechanicals are the poets? Or perhaps all three groups overlap and intersect? We’ve explored their compact imaginations with our doublings (inspired by the great Peter Brook) – fairies become mechanicals, mortals become immortals, and the Master of the Revels becomes the mischievous hobgoblin manipulating it all.
We have a saying in rehearsal – “Find your inner Fairy.” We hope this production will excite your imagination and bring you joy, whatever your age, whether you are a lover, a madman, a poet, or all three at once.
Thank you for being here.
~ Rebecca J. Ennals
Artistic Director, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
Fairies Mulberry, Dewdrop, and Thorn are guarding Oberon’s garden - they’ll try to tell you all about our play, but might get in each others way! This 15-minute fun-for-all-ages performance sets the stage for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and includes a full synopsis and audience participation. Don’t miss it!
Swings.......Hope Gundlah, Caitlin McNeilage
Stage Manager......Olive Fox
What’s a Green Show?
In Shakespeare’s time, going to the theatre was a truly festive experience involving many different types of entertainment. Popular with many Shakespeare festivals, “green shows” are warm-up acts that can include music, dance, and a preview of the show to come!
Thank you for attending A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We hope you enjoy the play! If you have any questions, ask a staff member in a green SF Shakes t-shirt.
Post-Show: Help keep Free Shakespeare Free! Fill your favorite actor’s basket with cash and checks or make a credit card donation.
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Michael J. Asberry*.......Egeus/Peter Quince
Patricia Austin*.......Hermia/Oberon’s Fairy
Livia Gomes Demarchi.......Hippolyta/Titania
Sean Garahan+.......Francis Flute/Mustardseed
Akaina Ghosh.......Lysander/Titania’s Fairy
Rosemarie Kingfisher....... Robin Starveling/Cobweb
James Lewis.......Philostrate/Robin Goodfellow, the Puck
Melanie Marshall.......Tom Snout/Peaseblossom
Lauren Spencer*+....... Helena
Michael Ray Wisely*.......Nick Bottom
Gina White....... Attendant/Dewdrop
Sol De Souza/Vivaan Mudgil.......Changeling
Hope Gundlah, U/S to Oberon’s Army; Caitlin McNeilage, U/S to Colleen Scallen and Lauren Spencer; Abigail Milnor-Sweetser, U/S to Melanie Marshall; Salim Razawi, U/S to Ed Berkeley; Colleen Scallen, U/S to Rosemarie Kingfisher; Kaz Valtchev, U/S to Akaina Ghosh; Gina White, U/S to Julie Douglas; Ted Zoldan, U/S to Sean Garahan and Michael Ray Wisely
Director.......Rebecca J. Ennals
Assistant Director /Production Manager.......Phil Lowery+
Stage Manager.......Tanya Telson
Mask & Movement Specialist/Props Manager.......Amelia Adams+
Scenic Designer/Technical Director/Master Carpenter.......Neal Ormond
Master Electrician.......Daniel Hall
Costume Designer.......Hyun Sook Kim
Composer/Music Director.......Phil Wong +
Lighting Designer.......John Bernard
Assistant to the Stage Manager.......Berkley Skillicorn
Costume Design Assistant.......Kaylynn Sutton
Wardrobe Supervisor.......Karen Oakley
Mask Artisan.......Kendra Johnson
Sound Technician.......Alejandro Romero
Hospitality Manager.......Kelcey Jay Poe
Dramaturg/Literary Intern....... Kalina Ko
Stage Management Interns.......Olive Fox, Skylar Jean, Alex Palmeter, Anna Reitman
Production Interns.......Shira Anisman, Kyomi Muntz, Tom Robinson
Hospitality Interns.......Tekla Carlen, Hope Gundlah, Fe King, Trixie Rodriguez
Wardrobe Interns.......Jessie Sherr, Jisaela Tenney, Kira Wotherspoon
* Member Actors’ Equity Association + Resident Artist of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
The Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta are about to be married.
Egeus and his daughter, Hermia, enter the court with her two suitors, Lysander and Demetrius. Lysander and Hermia are in love, and therefore hope to marry. However, Egeus wants Hermia to marry Demetrius instead. Theseus tells Hermia she must obey her father or become a nun. Upset by the decision, Hermia and Lysander make plans to run away. These plans are shared with Hermia’s best friend Helena. However, Helena is in love with Demetrius and tells him the plans in hopes of gaining his favor and affection.
In the Woods...
Meanwhile the mechanicals are rehearsing their play in the woods. Robin, a mischievous fairy called a puck, decides to play a trick and give Bottom a donkey head. Bottom’s companions run away in fright, and he stumbles into the clearing where Titania is sleeping. Titania wakes and consequently falls in love with Bottom. While Titania is fawning over Bottom, Oberon manages to convince her to give him the changeling child.Oberon sends Robin to use the love potion to make Demetrius fall in love with Helena. Unfortunately, Robin accidentally uses the love potion on Lysander who wakes and madly falls in love with Helena. In an attempt to repair the situation, Robin uses the magic flower on Demetrius who also falls in love with Helena. A chaotic confrontation between the Lovers ensues.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream has had a significant impact both globally and locally. This production will be the seventh time the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival has staged the play since its founding in 1983. Below is a quick pictorial timeline of important productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and all the prior productions at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, either for the Free Shakespeare in the Park program or for the Shakespeare on Tour program.
Did you know...?
• The word “midsummer” never appears in the play itself except in the title.
• Three of the moons surrounding the planet Uranus are called Titania, Oberon, and Puck.
• It’s possible that Shakespeare played Egeus or Quince in the original production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The language Shakespeare used is complex and can sometimes be difficult to understand. Take, for example, these first lines of the character, Hippolyta:
“Four days will quickly steep themselves in night; Four nights will quickly dream away the time; And then the moon, like to a silver bow New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities”
Those five lines are a very descriptive way of saying “Four days will go by quickly and then we’ll get married at, night!” Although complex, the language is also an integral part of the beauty of Shakespeare’s plays.
The lines can be split into two categories: prose and poetry. Prose is what people tend to speak in every day. We might call it “normal speech.” The mechanicals all speak in prose in this play. Poetry has a rhythmic pattern to it and is usually broken into lines. In this play, the humans usually speak in a pattern called “iambic pentameter.” This means that each line consists of ten syllables following an “unstressed-stressed” pattern.
“Four days will quickly steep themselves in night” da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM
This style of writing creates a very regular and musical sound. When the pattern is broken, the words tend to stick out more and draw attention. The fairies have their own rhythmic pattern that they follow (and often break). Of course, sometimes achieving the perfect ten syllable line is difficult and as such Shakespeare would squish together two syllables in order to fix this problem. Keep an ear out and see if you can identify when Shakespeare breaks the iambic rhythm. Can you guess why he did that?
Another notable aspect of Shakespeare’s writing is the rhyme scheme. Many of the poetic lines in the play do rhyme. However, it is sometimes not noticeable to the modern audience because of the way we speak now. In Shakespearean England, everyone spoke in a different accent, which we now call “original pronunciation.” As such, many of the words would rhyme. Take, for example, the following two lines:
“When thou wak’st, if she be by Beg of her for remedy.”
In modern American English, “by” and “remedy” usually do not rhyme. However, in Shakespearean English, these two lines would rhyme perfectly. You might notice in our production today that some words are intentionally said in original pronunciation in order to achieve the rhyme. - Kalina Ko, Literary Intern
Michael J. Asberry* (Egeus/Peter Quince) is excited to be spending another summer with SF Shakes! He most recently appeared in Red Speedo with Center Rep, and just completed an understudy role in Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts I, II & III (A.C.T.). Other productions include Fences (PCPA); Driving Miss Daisy and The Whipping Man with the Sacramento Theater Company; Landless (AlterTheater); Seven Guitars (Artists Repertory Theatre - Portland, OR); San Francisco’s Best of PlayGround Festival 16; Day of Absence, Fabulation, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, and King Hedley II (Lorraine Hansberry Theatre); Topdog/Underdog (6th Street Playhouse); Superior Donuts (TheatreWorks); and Satellites (Aurora Theatre).
Patricia Austin* (Hermia/Oberon’s Fairy) is delighted to return to SF Shakes! She is grateful to be making theatre in the Bay Area with other artists of such talent, integrity, and heart. She was last seen in Golden Thread’s Autobiography of a Terrorist by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh. Other recent credits include: Crowded Fire’s Matchbox Reading Series, A Tale of Autumn, On the Wonderverse (Bay Area Playwrights Foundation), The Taming of the Shrew (San Francisco Shakespeare), and Mutt (Impact Theatre). Trish also works at the Aurora Theatre as the Costume Coordinator. Special thanks to Rebecca and Phil for this fabulous opportunity and Tripp for everything else!
Ed Berkeley (Demetrius) is a Bay Area based actor originally from the East Coast (New England). He’s predominantly a stage actor who has been for- tunate enough to have worked with companies such as: San Francisco Playhouse in Colossal, The Custom Made Theatre in In Love and Warcraft, New Conservatory Theatre Center in Warplay, and The Cutting Ball Theatre in Phédre. You can catch him on Funny or Die TV in The Gay Husbands of San Francisco as Tanner.
Livia Gomes Demarchi (Hippolyta/Titania) is thrilled to return to SF Shakes after performing in their tours of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, many moons ago. Recently she played the Princess in Love’s Labour’s Lost, Richard III (Lady Anne), and As You Like It (Celia) at Marin Shakespeare Company. Favorite credits include: Hadia in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo at SF Playhouse, Belmira in The River Bride at AlterTheater (Original Production) and Maya in Low Hanging Fruit at 3Girls Theater (BATCC Best Ensemble nomination). Her B.A. is from UC Berkeley in Theater and Performance Studies. She also trained at A.C.T., Seydways Studios, and at Macunaíma School of Theater in her home country of Brazil. Obrigada Lauren, Luciano e Giovanna. Amo vocês!
Julie Douglas (Snug/Mote) is a Bay Area actor, theatre maker, teacher, and clown. She’s happy to return to SF Shakes after last being seen in As You Like It (on Tour). Julie has performed locally with We Players (Roman Women), Idiot String, Impact Theatre, Shotgun Players, Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Favorite roles include Weird Sister in Macbeth at Fort Point, most of the roles in Comedy of Errors (4 person cast), and Circe in the Odyssey on Angel Island. Julie gets to be silly on a regular basis as a hospital clown with The Medical Clown Project and has performed in clown cabarets and festivals of devised performance. She holds an M.F.A. in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International and a B.A. in Theatre from UC Santa Cruz.
Sean Garahan+ (Francis Flute/Mustardseed) is a Bay Area actor and teach- ing artist. Recent roles include Clown in The 39 Steps at Ross Valley Players, Medvedenko in The Seagull with Utopia Theatre, Matt Burke in Anna Christie at Dragon Theatre, and Bernard in Boeing Boeing. Previously he was seen as Paris in Romeo and Juliet and Gloucester in Henry V with SF Shakes. Sean earned a BA in Theatre from Emerson College in 2008, is an EMC member of Actor’s Equity, and is a Resident Artist with SF Shakes. Check him out at seangarahan.com.
Akaina Ghosh (Lysander/Fairy) is thrilled to be portraying the passionate and poetic lover of Hermia in SF Shakes’ rendition of Shakespeare’s classic. Akaina trained with One Year Lease and New York Stage and Film while attending Vassar College in New York, where they received their B.A. in Drama. Akaina is a Core member of Ragged Wing Ensemble and performs regularly with various companies around the Bay Area. Recent performances include Rose in A Different Long Stretch of Earth (Ragged Wing Ensemble), Tybalt & Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet (SF Shakes), Beatrice in Infernal Motel (Epic Immersive) and Bonnie in How to Be a White Man (FaultLine Theater). Follow Akaina at akainaghosh.com.
Rosemarie Kingfisher (Robin Starveling/Cobweb) is thrilled to be in her first production with SF Shakes after recently graduating with a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Sonoma State University’s Acting program! Since graduating she has been hired as an assistant director with Mark Day School and has performed with Bay Area Children’s Theatre. For Rose, the pursuit of an acting career is embedded with the idea that every theatre experience is a learning opportunity for both audience and actor to be given a mask through which they may understand another human experience and perspective. This experience is needed now more than ever - and from there we can grow.
James Lewis (Robin Goodfellow, the Puck/Philostrate) is excited to be returning to SF Shakes, where he last appeared as Joseph in The Taming of the Shrew. Recent credits include Arthur de Bourgh in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at City Lights Theater Company, and Leo in In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, at the Pear Theatre. He also performed in seven productions at the California Theatre Center in Sunnyvale. During his very busy year there, he taught master classes and directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the conservatory, and played the roles of Mark in Mass Appeal, Jonathan Harker in Dracula, and Crusoe in Robinson Crusoe. James is a graduate of UC Berkeley, with a degree in Theatre & Performance Studies and English.
Melanie Marshall (Tom Snout/Peaseblossom) is excited to be making her Free Shakespeare in the Park debut, after appearing in the Shakespeare on Tour and Shakespeare For All productions of Julius Caesar as Cassius and Julius Caesar, respectively (2014). Locally, she has worked with Bay Area Children’s Theatre (Pippi Longstocking), Arabian Shakespeare Festival (Love Not Touched By Flame), Oasis (Buffy the Vampire Slayer LIVE, Star Trek: Mirror Mirror), ArtistsRepSF (Peer Gynt), Breadbox (Medea), Shotz SF (Cement and Dirt), and Killing My Lobster (Camp KML; Game of Nerds; KML + 826 = BFFs). Melanie can often be found performing around the Bay in drag as her alter- ego, Marshall Flaw. She is a proud company member of Playground Theatre.
Stephen Muterspaugh*+ (Theseus/Oberon) who served as SF Shakes’ Associate Artistic Director from 2014-17, has been teaching, acting, and directing for the Festival since 2010. As a Resident Artist, he has taught Bay Area Shakespeare Camps, Upstart Crows, the Advanced Shakespeare Workshop, and Midnight Shakespeare programs, as well as creating the Shakespeare for All Central Valley Residency Program. He’s directed four seasons of Shakespeare on Tour productions, as well as co-directing the 2014 Free Shakes in the Park production of The Taming of the Shrew and directing Hamlet in 2017. Regional acting credits include: Cyrano and The Country House (TheatreWorks), Last Night of Ballyhoo and Servant of Two Masters (PCPA), Julius Caesar (Utah Shakespeare Festival), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello (Southwest Shakespeare Company), Lend Me a Tenor (Livermore Shakespeare), King John and The Liar (Marin Shakespeare Company), and The Winter’s Tale and Macbeth (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival). He is a graduate of PCPA - Pacific Conservatory Theatre and a proud member of Actors’ Equity.
Lauren Spencer*+ (Helena) is thrilled to return to the SF Shakes stage after playing Juliet three summers ago. She is proud to have collaborated with American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Crowded Fire, Shotgun Players, and Berkeley Rep among others. In addition to acting, she also works as a teaching artists for SF Shakes, A.C.T.’s Acting For Critical Thought program, Shakespeare Theater, CalShakes, Stagewrite and serves as a mentor for Each One Reach One’s writing program. Find out more about her upcoming work at www.laurenspencer.weebly.com.
Michael Ray Wisely* (Nick Bottom) has performed with SF Shakes in three different decades: The Tempest (1991 and 2006), Love’s Labour’s Lost (2003), Henry V (2012) and the title role in Macbeth (2013). Recent credits include: Ray in Blackbird for Pacific Repertory Theatre, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and Sam Phillips in Million Dollar Quartet for Center Repertory Theatre, and Restin in The Language Archive for Symmetry Theatre in San Miguel de Allende, MX. In 2016 he was in New York City with San Francisco Playhouse as Ted in the Off-Broadway premiere of Ideation at 59e59 Theaters. Regional credits include: Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Marin Shakespeare, Shotgun, San Jose Stage, American Musical Theatre, and others. A founding member of AlterTheater, Michael Ray recently directed Million Dollar Quartet for Sierra Repertory Theatre and also has worked in film, television, and radio. You can follow him on social media or at michaelraywisely.com.
Rebecca J Ennals (Director) has been on the staff of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival since 2002 and Artistic Director since 2012. She has extensive directing, acting, and teaching experience, and holds an MFA in performance from UC Davis. She has taught and written curriculum at the elementary through college levels. As an actor and director, she has worked locally with Marin Theatre Company, PlayGround, Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival, Pear Theatre, Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, Peninsula Youth Theatre, Los Altos Youth Theatre and Shakespeare At Stinson, Rebecca has directed eight productions for the Festival’s Shakespeare On Tour in-school touring program, six productions for the Civic Arts Stage Company program in Pleasanton, and three productions for Free Shakespeare in the Park. This one’s for Henry Bruce Tasker. Happy fourth birthday to the kid who was born during tech week of The Taming of the Shrew.
Phil Lowery+ (Assistant Director/Production Manager) is a director, actor, stage manager, teacher, and a proud member of the SF Shakes Resident Artist company, through which he has taught hundreds of children and teens in our Bay Area Shakespeare Camps and Tailor-Made Residencies since 2007. He has performed with Shakespeare on Tour (Macbeth) and Free Shakespeare in the Park (The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale), and with other Bay Area companies, including Shotgun Players, Central Works Ensemble and Lamplighters Music Theatre, where he is on staff. Phil has directed musicals, operas and operettas around the Bay Area for companies such as Altarena Playhouse, Berkeley Opera, Pocket Opera, Lyric Theatre of San Jose, and Lamplighters. After the distinct pleasure and privilege of working with this outstanding cast and production team, he looks forward to turning his attention toward our Education Programs.
Tanya Telson* (Stage Manager) is a Bay Area native and was recently a Resident Stage Manager for 3 Girls Theatre. She was also a Stage Manager to 42nd Street Moon’s productions of Little Me, Sugar, Oh Kay!, Strike Up the Band and Babes in Arms. Other credits include stage management for Jerry Springer: the Opera and Baby (Ray of Light Theatre) and assistant stage management for the American Conservatory Theater’s productions of The Importance of Being Earnest, Luminescence Dating, and Red Scare on Sunset. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Amelia Adams+ (Mask & Movement Specialist/Props Manager/Green Show Director) is a Bay Area actor, director, and puppeteer. She is a teaching artist with SF Shakes, Cal Shakes and Circus of Smiles. Favorite credits include Raina Petkoff in Arms and the Man (Spotlighters Theatre), The Mai, and The Lacy Project (Strand Theatre Co). Amelia toured her commedia dell’arte production to both coasts, and premiered her solo production A Mischief of Rats at the SF Fringe Festival. She graduated from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and continues to specialize in ensemble based physical theatre.