Aug 5, 2011

Face to Face with Lakeside Shakespeare: Reading Behind the Scenes

For the past several days we've been spending most of our time with an amazing collection of actors, who traveled from Chicago to the woods of Northern Michigan, gracing our community with top-notch performances of Shakespeare's best. The Sisters have participated in Lakeside Shakespeare's Children's Workshops for the last few years, but this year one of The Big Sister's dreams came true: she was offered two REAL roles, by Director Christy Arington, Peaseblossom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and one of Macduff's Children in Macbeth. And wow, if you can believe it, we've almost been too busy to read... almost

Spending time with the pros The Big Sister learned a thing or two, and noticed a sweet commonality with the Lakeside Shakespeare actors: everyone loves reading and many snuck in pages between scenes and during breaks. During the last performance of Macbeth the actors were kind enough to answer questions and take fun photos. From the amazing actors we learned about Shakespeare, acting and added a few more books to our reading lists. Thanks to all you wonderful people, you know who you are, it is going to be hard to wait until next summer!

For more information:
After you read the interviews, it's your turn, tell us:
  • Your favorite Shakespeare Play.
  • Favorite line in Shakespeare.
  • Have you dreamed of acting? What Shakespearean role would you choose?
  • Have you caught a Lakeside Shakespeare performance? Tell us highlights!
Share your thoughts on Shakespeare in the comments below.

Now enjoy learning from the 2011 Lakeside Shakespeare Company:

2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonBottom (A Midsummer Night's Dream) Duncan, Porter, Old Sieward (Macbeth)
Reading: Just finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Steig Larsson
Favorite Shakespeare Play: "A Midsummer Night's Dream, it's because I love the character Bottom so much. Actually it is a tie with Richard III because Richard III is tragically misunderstood character --he is not motivated by evil but by circumstance -reacting to a constant stream of slights and slurs. Some of Shakespeare's best lines come from Richard III."
Shakespeare Dream Role: Richard III
On experiencing Shakespeare: "I would always recommend a person see a Shakespeare play before they read it. Shakespeare was meant to be performed more than read, it makes so much more sense when you can see it."
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonMacduff (Macbeth) Egeus/Snug (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Favorite Shakespeare Play: "King Lear is my favorite play and it probably sounds trite, but your favorite one has to be the one that you're doing at the time! So right now, it's that Scottish play! (Macbeth)"
On the Macduff/Macbeth fight scene in a downpour (at the end of the August 2nd performance it began to storm and those in the audience were treated to Shakespeare at its best): "We wanted to finish the story, that's what we're doing, telling stories. And also John (Mossman) and I have been friends for 15 years so we absolute trust in each other: that we would slow it down; it was dancing in the rain... with 20 pound weapons! We were glad to have it, but don't want to do it again!"

2011 Lakeside Shakespeare Season: Intern
Reading: Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonegut
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare Season: Witch, Murderer and Gentlewoman (Macbeth)
Titania (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
ReadingPlain Truth, Jodi Picoult
Favorite Shakespeare Play: "Its an oldie and goodie, but I kind of love Romeo and Juliet!"
Dream Shakespeare Role: "I got to play the role I've been wanting to play for years... Titania!"

2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonPuck (A Midsummer Night's Dream) 
Witch, Murderer, Doctor (Macbeth)
Reading: World Made by HandJames Howard Kunstler "A fictious look at the world without oil, transportation, government or money. It's not a gloomy book, it's got hope to it. My Mom gave it to me, she read it in her book club!"
Favorite Shakespeare Play: "I think my favorite Shakespeare play, it changes, might be the Tempest or As You Like it --the pastorals running through the forest, As You Like It. The Tempest more of a magical world, I like when there is magic!"
Favorite Shakespeare Role: "Puck!
Favorite Things: "Working with kids... teaching theater to kids is a love, a passion, a dream of mine!"
"More than one person have called this the BEST Midsummer Night's Dream they have ever seen!!"

2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonPetra Quince (A Midsummer Nights Dream) Director (Macbeth) 
Reading: "I just finished Game of Thrones, the first book. Now I'm reading Tinker by Paul Harding" which she definitely suggests.
Favorite Shakespeare Play: "I have a lot of favorite Shakespeare plays but right now I am fascinated by Othello."
Dream Shakespeare Role: "Emilia in Othello, she is a fascinating character she betrays her best friend for her husband for a bloody bloody end, she is married to Iago the evil character."
On Libraries: "Libraries are really important to me, I used work at a library. I was a Young Adult para-professional librarian for 5 years and a children's librarian." Her suggestion for helping libraries, "stop buying books and go and borrow them from the library. Libraries are important, if people stop reading books we are doomed!" Doomed, she said in a voice that rolled like thunder and made us want to run to the library, right away...

2011 Lakeside Shakespeare Season: Intern
ReadingFor Whom the Bell Tolls by Earnest Hemingway
Favorite Shakespeare Play: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Dream Shakespeare Role: Hermia

2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonHelena (A Midsummer Nights Dream) Witch (Macbeth)
Reading: "I always read a few things at once, The Walking Dead, a graphic novel. Omnivore's Dilemma, Ray Bradbury Short Story Collection and Phillip K. Dick Collection. I am a big fan of Science Fiction!" 
Favorite Shakespeare Play: King Lear "The struggles with death and what is beyond death are just the most profound statements I've read."
Dream Shakespeare Role? "I would love to play Ophelia, I feel like I may not have many years left --she is a girl-- but I would love to play such a beautiful mermaid... that is a goal."
Favorite Library:
 "Harold Washington in downtown Chicago, down in the loop, right in the center of the city and it has 9 floors, has so many... must be millions of books, I just get lost there. Every time I go I check out like 23 books and then I always have late fees because (laughing) my eyes are bigger than my time!"
On E-readers: "I don't own one, have definitely read public works on my phone when I needed to for a productions. I personally love the smell of books so I haven't bought a reader, but I find myself close to buying and iPad, it's hard... I love turning pages... and book marks..."

2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonOberon (A Midsummer Nights Dream) Banquo (Macbeth)
Reading: Clash of Kings by Goerge R.R. Martin
Is this the first time you've played in Macbeth? "No, my fifth time."
What other roles did you play? "Macduff, Macduff, Macduff, Macduff!"
(The Big Sister and The Mom were intrigued by Matt reading his e-reader back stage --ah, that we could pick from our own home library. on a whim, on the go... could an e-reader be in our future?)
Elizabeth Dowling
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare Season: Lennox (Macbeth) Snout, First Fairy (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Interview coming soon!

John Mossman (& The Big Sister)
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonMacbeth (Macbeth) Theseus/Flute (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Favorite Shakespeare Role: "Simple, Macbeth."
Favorite Line from Macbeth: "Out, out brief candle, life's but a walking shadow."
Visit John's Website: click here
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonLysander (A Midsummer Nights Dream) Malcolm (Macbeth)
Reading: Shadow of a Gunman, an Irish play.
Favorite Shakespeare Play: Hamlet
Dream Shakespeare Role: Hamlet
On memorizing Shakespearean language: "It is a little tricky because I've been doing a lot of contemporary work for the last 6-7 years which you can make your way through just saying something... in Shakespeare you can't, its hard to connect everything to the action. But then at the same time, it's nice once you get it because you don't have to work as hard, the language can --if you let it-- do a lot of the work for you."

(The Big Sister) & Brittany Birch
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare Season: Fleance, Lady Macduff (Macbeth)
Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Favorite Shakespeare Play: "Twelfth Night! It's the best one! It is definitely readable, but I prefer to watch it!"
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare Season
Ross (Macbeth) 
Demetrius (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

Reading: The Halloween TreeRay Bradbury
Favorite Shakespeare Play: Titus
Favorite Shakespeare Role: "I've always wanted to play Titus but I'd have to be like 65 to do that, so it's one of those things at the end of the road, working my way to it, someday it's gonna be sweet."
On Libraries: "I rarely use the library, but I support my libraries... I have friends that work at libraries, I work for the American Library Association from time to time, I've done promos for them." Watch one of 
promos Josh worked on, click here!
If you were moving to a new town and they didn't have a library would that effect your decision to move there? "Yes, I think it would, that means that you're behind, you're way behind. If you're looking as a library as a luxury, that's silly, I don't think it should be a luxury at all!"

Elizabeth Laidlaw (& The Big Sister)
2011 Lakeside Shakespeare SeasonLady Macbeth (Macbeth) Hippolyta/Starveling (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and is the Artistic Director and Founder of Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre (LST), producing or co-producing every season
On Reading Shakespeare: "If you're going to sit down and read Shakespeare, I would say Macbeth, I think it reads like a suspense novel."
Summer Reading Suggestion: Geek Love, my favorite summer book I ever, ever read --just a great, great book. And anything by Louise Erdrich. And I am getting into Murikami, just finished Wind up Bird Chronicles, but you need to give your full attention to Murakami, maybe not exactly summer reading! For  me summer reading is just what I am readng next!"
Your turn... 
share your Shakespeare Love 
in the comments. 


  1. MArgo9:07 AM

    I ALWAYS wanted to play Puck! But never had the opportunity!

    What fun... wish we lived in Michigan!

  2. Pardon the typos... we just squeezed in an edit between Children's Workshop fun and costume making, then on to the last show!!

    The Four of US!

  3. Anonymous12:55 AM

    Midsummer was too good tonight!

    The Wall, perfect.
    Puck, hilarious.
    Fairies, so many.

    I love any and all shakespeare as long as it is on stage, no mind for reading it ;)

  4. LOVE this!! what fun! we totally loved being there - such incredible performances, by extraordinary actors. thanks for the behind the scenes look!

  5. Barbara12:01 PM

    It's not by Shakespeare, but it's about community life during his time:
    Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz. The author is a school librarian.


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