Category Archives: Midsummer Night’s Dream

Secondary Character Saturday: Hermia

Washington Allston's 1818 painting Hermia and ...

Washington Allston’s 1818 painting Hermia and Helena. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who: Hermia

From: A Mid Summer Nights Dream

By: William Shakespeare

Written: between 1594 and 1595

Pros: Though she be but little she is fierce.  She stands up for herself and refuses to give up on love. She’s played by my friend, the amazing Lisa Davidson,  in Baltimore Shakespeare Factory‘s current offering.

Most Shining Moment: Standing up to her father (and facing the death penalty) for love.

Hermia approaches love as though it were something easily threatened, but not easily lost. At all points, Hermia’s relentless – you have to hustle if you’re going to hold on to your lover, and it’s worth the hustle if the love is true. Hermia thus provides a contrast to the self-doubting and flippant love around her. She may seem fierce and shrewd, but sometimes that’s just the way love goes, unless you’re willing to let it go all together. [Shmoop. com]

ritaLOVEStoWRITE blog review of Mid Summer Night’s Dream [http://wp.me/2sm4g]

Hermia (Lisa Davidson) and fan (Maggie) off stage during intermission at the Factory's Mid Summer.

Hermia (Lisa Davidson) and fan (Maggie) off stage during intermission at the Factory’s Mid Summer.


WELL met by Moonlight (and mid day) — Midsummer in the Meadow

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s second offering this summer is the Bard’s classic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play runs weekends  until 8/18th in the Meadow at Evergreen Museum on Charles Street, with command performances at Boordy Vineyards on 8/23 and at the company’s winter residence at the Great Hall at St. Mary’s in Hamden on 8/24 and 25.

    Puck (Jenna K. Rossman) puts Lysander (Tanner Medding) into a spell induced slumber.

Puck (Jenna K. Rossman) puts Lysander (Tanner Medding) into a spell induced slumber.

Midsummer is a lovely companion piece to the Factory’s earlier summer production of Hamlet. It is lighter and full of mirth. A sweet ending to a meaty Danish feast.

Much of that mirth is due to two of the players, Jenna Rossman (Puck) and Zach Brewster-Geisz (Nick Bottom). Shakespeare sets Puck and Bottom up as comedy relief and Rossman and Brewster-Geisz steal the show. — I feel for the less raucous (but wonderfully played) lovers and nobles who have to compete with Puck and Bottom for the audience’s attention.

Puck (Jenna K. Rossman) and Oberon (Joel Ottenheimer) control the Meadow -- er -- fairy kingdom.

Puck (Jenna Rossman) and Oberon (Joel Ottenheimer) control the Meadow — er — fairy kingdom.

Rossman’s Puck strutted, preened and danced around like some Isadora Duncan nymph channeling Mick Jagger (in a good way). She seemed to be everywhere. It was a delight to watch her weave her magic both over the characters in the play and over the audience.

Puck and Nick during the post show "cast chat". (Sorry I don't have a better pic of Nick).

Puck and Nick during the post show “Cast Talk”. (Sorry I don’t have a better pic of Bewster-Geisz).

Brewster-Geisz’s Nick Bottom was simply a hoot. It’s a funny part on paper, but Zach really brought Bottom to life. Ever meet some one who thinks they can do everything better than any one else? That’s Nick Bottom. He’s so over the top. It’s just wonderful. Brewster-Geisz’s transformation from the uber confident self-proclaimed leader of the acting troop to the confused donkey-headed man who finds himself the lucky recipient of Titania’s affection is nicely done as well.

Demetrius and Lysander protect Helena from Hermia.

Manly-men Demetrius and Lysander protect Helena from Hermia.

The lovers quartet — Hermia , Lysander, Helena and Demetrius — is also strong. Lisa Davidson, Tanner Medding, Shaina Higgins, and Rick Lyon-Vaiden are in turns earnest, funny, feisty and gob-smack in love — though not always with the right people.

Joel Ottenheimer commands as Oberon

Joel Ottenheimer commands as Oberon

The rest of the cast is tight as well.  Joel Ottenheimer and Laura Rocklyn are noble and appropriately pompous as the Royals (both in the “real” world and in Fairy). Lee Condreacci, as Peter Quince, did her best to keep the players and Nick Bottom under control. Lisa Bryan, Lorriane Imwold, Lonnie DeVaughn Simmons, Emily Sucher and Tegan William are the backbone of the production as they round out the company, each playing multiple roles as fairies and players.

Lisa Davidson playing mandolin and singing during intermission.

Lisa Davidson playing mandolin and singing during intermission.

I love how FACTORY members perform modern music that relates to the show in the pre-show and intermission. It is yet another level on which the players relate to the audience. And it gives us a glimpse at how multi-talented these actors really are.

Post show "Cast Talk"

Post show “Cast Talk”

Be sure to stay after the curtain call for the “Cast Talk” when the cast and directors are happy to answer all questions Shakespearian.

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory continues its Play On. 4 FREE. 4 Ever. campaign with the goal of bringing Shakespeare to all for free by 2016. To learn how you can help or to get tickets to an upcoming show visit their website at http://theshakespearefactory.com/


July Creative Challenge, day 12: Words, words, words

hamlet with skull

Dude. What makes you so interesting anyway? Why should I spend four and a half hours of my life watching YOU mope about the stage debating your sanity and your mother’s fidelity? I’ve got problems of my own, you know, buddy. I don’t have time to worry about your to be’s or not to be’s. I mean it was 412 years ago… if you haven’t figured it out by now, let it go. For reals.

Ohh, rude-urban-slang Rita, me thinks you dost protest too much.

Hamlet is one of the greatest literary treasures of the English language and, in reality I am thrilled to be spending several evenings (and Sunday afternoons) with the great Dane over the next few weeks. I don’t have to travel to Elsinore Castle or even The Globe Theatre in London. The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is putting on Hamlet right here in Charm City as part of the Summer of Magic and Mayhem.

Poster for Hamlet courtesy foxpop communications.

Poster for Hamlet courtesy Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and  VoxPop Communications.

Tom Delise, the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s Artistic Director told broadwayworld.com that “HAMLET is not simply the tragedy of the Prince of Denmark — it is also a ghost story, a detective story, a love story, a story of power and ambition, a revenge story, and even at times, a comedy.” [baltimore.broadwayworld.com]

The Factory works the words.

They delve heavily into Shakespeare’s original text to find “unexpected humor and provide clarity for audiences of all ages.” [Ibid] They talk to the audience (and are prepared for the audience to talk back to them.) That engagement between player and patron brings the Shakespeare experience to a whole new level.

Hamlet is playing at three locations (the BSF’s year round home at St. Mary’s in Hampden, at Evergreen, and at Boordy  Vineyards) with the bulk of the performances occurring in the Meadow at Evergreen. When you go bring sun screen, bug spray, a blanket or lawn chair and an umbrella .

A little audience inter action during last year's Taming of the Shrew. [Image courtesy: Baltimore Shakespeare Factory.]

A little audience engagement during last year’s Taming of the Shrew. [Image courtesy: Baltimore Shakespeare Factory.]

The second production  the Factory is mounting this summer is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s another of the Bard’s most popular plays.  It’s a more family friendly option if you’ve got young Shakespeare lovers.  It has less death (corpse count: Midsummer O /  Hamlet’s 8 — plus the Ghost)  and more fairies. There’s love, there’s magic…there’s even a guy who literally gets his head turned into that of an Ass. How fun is that?

Poster for A Midsummer Night's Dream. [Image courtesy: foxpop communications]

Poster for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. [Image courtesy: Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and VoxPop Communications]

I have a special spot in my heart for Midsummer, especially for Puck, that merry wanderer of the night!

Click HERE to see Hamlet’s schedule.

Click HERE to see Midsummer’s Schedule.

BSF 1-6 ad pg 20

Here’s an ad I did for the Factory that ran in Mason-Dixon ARRIVE

Hope to see you under the stars for some swordplay and Shakespeare this summer!


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