Spotlight on Vpstart Crow’s A Midsummer Night’s DreamBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jul 16th, 2008 • Category: Interviews
Listen to the talkback discussion [MP3 10:44 4.9MB] with the cast and crew of Vpstart Crow’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Cramer Center, Manassas, VA
$20/$15 Student or Senior
Through July 27th
Paul: What I think we will do is have the actors introduce themselves. First of all, my name is Paul Rubenstein. I am the director of the play and the co-artistic Director of Vpstart Crow. We will now pass this along and everyone can introduce themselves.
Cast: My name is Ray Bracken. I am the managing director of Vpstart Crow. I have been involved with this theater company since January. This is my first full production with the company and I am excited because it is an awesome show with a great cast.
Cast: I’m Kia Mido and this is my third show.
Cast: Hi, I’m Sara.
Cast: I’m Colby Mills. I played the jackass once before and I swear it is not typecasting.
Paul: That’s what he says.
Cast: Hola. I’m Mia Mido and I say hi to everyone.
Cast: Hi, I’m Daniel Buck and I’m also not type cast because I’m not really a jerk, I promise.
Cast: My name is Amy Snow. I play Petra Quince.
Cast: My name is Kathleen Mason. This is my first show with Vpstart Crow.
Cast: My name is Alex Craft. I play Lysander and it is also my first show with Vpstart Crow.
Cast: I’m Charlie Rizor.
Cast: I’m Ali Mido.
Cast: I’m Sara Rusell. I play Puck. This is my first time at Vpstart Crow.
Cast: Hi, I’m Lesley Rizor. This is my first time with Vpstart Crow and yes, Charlie is my husband.
Cast: Alexia Poa. This is actually my second show with Vpstart.
Cast: I’m Makyle. I was Fute/Thisbie. This is my first Vpstart Crow show and my third time wearing a dress on stage.
Cast: I’m Ali Crop. I play Starvling, Cobweb and Moonshine.
Cast: I’m Phoebe Roar. I was a wall.
Cast: Hi, I’m Bob Ashby. I thought I was playing Leon Czolgosz on Assassins. I do not know what happened.
Cast: Hi, I’m Heather Benjamin. I play Neapolita and this is my first show with Vpstart as well.
Cast: John Ma rget. I play Ageaus and Philistrate, This is my third show with Vpstart Crow. As noted in the program, this is my fifth production of a MidSummer’s Night’s Dream going back to 1953.
Cast: I’m Katherine and I ‘m the Stage Manager and Sound Board Operator this show.
Cast: I’m Morgan Sexton. I am Lighting Designer, Assistant Director and this is my fourth or fifth show with Vpstart Crow. They all seem to run together.
Paul: Now that we have all introduced ourselves, I’d like to open up the field to any questions that you all might have. You can ask anybody that is involved here.
Question: Just a general question. Why did you make the show so modern? It was fun, but what was the decision to do that besides the fact that it made costuming was a lot easier?
Paul: I think the answer has been mostly given.
Cast: We here at Vpstart Crow do things in an Vpstartling manner so we take a lot of Shakespearean, aah, yes, vpstartling, that will be in the dictionary when they review the words next year. We take things that are period like Shakespeare and classical theater and we do it in an Vpstartily manner. We never do anything in period and we like to remove the scene because Shakespeare is classic and a lot of the shows that we do do, it does not matter what time period you set it in, it is the same story and the same message comes across.
Paul: Just to add to that, in thinking about it Shakespeare wrote for his time. It was modern back then so why could it not be modern today in whatever we have. Let me run and get the next question.
Question: Can somebody explain to me the ‘V’ in Vpstart Crow?
Paul: Certainly. The ‘V’ in Vpstart Crow harkens back to the old days when Shakespeare was around and that is how they wrote ‘U’s. It is really is as simple as that. Any other questions?
Question: I forget the character’s name, but did you mean to go for a William Shatneresc approach?
Paul: I’m guessing this is for Bottom.
Cast: I don’t know what you mean. I always talk this way. That was one really accessible interpretation of poor poor acting and so…. I should note that I was only going for that at one part of the show. But take whatever you want to away from it.
Paul: Okay. Yes, we made sure it was only at that part of the show. Any other questions? The question was how long were we all in rehearsal? We started back a couple months ago. It was about six weeks. We had the auditions at the end of May and have been working ever since.
Question: We were just saying at intermission how impressed we were by the total memorization of everything and Shakespeare is difficult. It was just excellent.
Cast: They had all their lines memorized within about two weeks I would say. Most people had really good understanding of the verbiage about two and a half/three weeks into it. Everybody always says that Shakespeare has to me really hard to memorize. I find it easier than anything else. A lot of the time because it is in iambic pentameter so you know if you skip a word. And a lot of times because it rhymes. This is actually one of my first shows where I have been speaking prose most of the time and it really threw me off because I no longer have ten beats in a line. I know people think it’s hard, but honestly once you start it, I think it is pretty easy. That is just my personal opinion.
Paul: Another question over here.
Question: Were there any microphones used in this or was it all projection?
Cast: No microphones.
Paul: No microphones whatsoever. We did it the way they did it back then. With the exception of it being indoors and and having techno music and what not.
Question: How do you choose the music?
Paul: I will defer that to our music director, Charlie.
Cast: XXXCharlie: In thinking about the sound for the show, they presented me with a concept of sort of a raving style for Oberon, and something slightly different for the queen and her fairies. So we tried to keep a techno theme throughout the show. But I did not want it all to be the same thing throughout so I tried to find so things that had that same feeling and the proper feeling for the show, but were maybe a little different from what you might expect if we told you it was set as Oberon is a raver you may have come with preconceptions that I did not want you to find to be true.
Paul: Any other questions?
Question: This is not a question so much as a comment: welcome back to Joe the Crow. Glad you dug him up again.
Paul: For those of you who don’t know, Joe is our permanent cast member. You will find him in pretty much all of our productions. You may have to look hard, but you will find him.
Paul: It just happened to work out beautifully this time that Joe could be prominently featured as part of the design of the set. There is a lot of time it has just been artificially placed somewhere. Every theater company has some little quirk or something. Something always appears in a production. I know another theater company that I worked with in the past has always had a rubber chicken in the show, including the tragedies quite curiously. This is what we do. We are Vpstart Crow so we have Joe Crow. Any other questions?
Question: Do most of you guys stick with Shakespearean works or do you do other things?
Cast: Yes. For example the last how I did was Urinetown.
Cast: The last show I did was an Agatha Christie. I may do one or two Shakespeare things a year, but generally modern stuff.
Cast: I go where there is work.
Paul: So say we all.
Cast: I think all of us would do Shakespeare give the opportunity, but there is not that much Shakespeare produced. So when we have the opportunity, we do anything to be in the show.
Cast: This is my first show outside of school. Robinson does not usually partake in Shakespeare. My last show was Les Mis. I had never done Shakespeare before.
Cast: Myself, I am actually a tech that does do some acting. The only thing I act is Shakespeare. That is the only thing that can really get me back on stage. Otherwise I’m behind the scenes.
Cast: What Leslie said.
Paul: Okay. Anyone else?We have time for another question or two.
Question: The name Vpstart Crow. I see the background. Who came up with the name and why?
Paul: I believe it was one of the original founders. I do not know the actual reason why.
Cast: Shakespeare was dubbed the Vpstart Crow in his time by a competitive playwright because he was the start up and was getting a lot of notoriety and the other playwrights were saying that he was just an upstart crow. So that was the origin of the term.
Paul: As far as our company, I guess someone thought it was really cool.
Cast: It was turning an insult into a positive.
Paul: Okay, we would like to thank you all for coming out today. Please tell everybody and come on back.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.