A gender bending twist to A Midsummer Night's Dream

After two successful years of entertaining the greater Nashville area with intoxicated words of The Bard, Inebriated Shakespeare is back with new actors, a new performance director and a few gender bending characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Two male actors have been cast to play the traditional female roles of Titania and Hippolyta. The acting company has two different casts to accommodate the demands of performing all over the greater Nashville area. Playing Titania/Hippolyta in Cast A is theater veteran Asa Ambrister. Taking on the duel cast roles in Cast B is the company’s assistant director, Zach Parker. Parker, a former drag queen, says it kicks things up a notch.

“I am so thrilled to be playing this part. This choice of casting adds a level of camp to the show that makes it that much more comical. The choice pushes the envelope just a little bit further, continuing the tradition of last year,” he says.

Performing in venues, bars and clubs around Music City, Wild Card Production’s Inebriated Shakespeare incorporates an abbreviated version of a William Shakespeare play with some adult beverages thrown in. The audience can purchase shots, which are a $5 donation (per shot) to the non-profit theatre company, and it helps the actors become inebriated. Those attending shows are encouraged to bring cash for the shots.

Inebriated Shakespeare incorporates two casts of eight actors who do their best to execute the classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Because two casts perform the show throughout the area, you can attend a performance and it won’t be the same as the next.

This season’s group of actors includes Inebriated Shakespeare veterans and several newcomers. Preston Perrin, who is new to the company this year, found the company’s approach to just about everything both different and appealing.

“As a Nashville newcomer, it’s refreshing and rewarding as an actor to be included in a group of artists who are highly supportive. Regardless of seniority, everyone’s ideas are taken into consideration and tested during the rehearsal process,” he said.

Midsummer’s show director is Daniel Morgan, who was an actor in Inebriated Shakespeare’s production of Much Ado About Nothing last year. This season he takes on the role of both director and actor. “It is a challenge for actors, but we have damn fine professionals with fully functioning livers,” Morgan says with a smile. “They are up to the challenge. It’s the most unique Shakespeare experience and the show is accessible for those who know everything and nothing about the Bard.” 

Last year, the company played at great local hot spots like The East Room, Third Coast Comedy Club, City Winery, and their home stage, the Music Valley Event Center. Look for them to return to those locations and add several other venues like New Heights Brewing Company. Dates are already booked for January and are filling up through June. Dates for January include a New Years Eve show at the Music Valley Event Center, January 6th and 26th at City Winery and January 19th at New Heights Brewing Company. For tickets, check out the Inebriated Shakespeare Facebook page.

While Inebriated Shakespeare incorporates the consumption of alcoholic beverages, they advocate and encourage the need for responsible drinking and designated drivers. The acting troupe requires a designated driver for any actor who drinks.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy about what happens when four naïve lovers and a small troupe of amateur actors traipse into the Athenian woods full of fairies and mischief.

Performing in this season of Inebriated Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Cast A is Morgan as Demetrius/Flute, Ambrister as Titania/Hippolyta, Caitlin Brockell as Helena/Fairy #2, Aevar Jonsson as Puck/Egeus, Alex White as Bottom/Fairy Child, Catherine Glidwell as Hermia/Quince, Jarvis Bynum as Oberon/Theseus and Scotty Phillips as Lysander/Fairy #1.

In Cast B is Taylor James Foster as Bottom/Fairy Child, Ryan Dillinger as Puck/Egeus, Shalisha Brace as Hermia/Quince, Angela Gimlin as Helena/Fairy #2, Mackenzie Smith as Oberon/Theseus, Perrin as Demetrius/Flute, Evan Grabenstein as Lysander/Fairy #1, and Parker as Titania/Hippolyta.

Photo: Rehearsals at the Music Valley Event Center with Scotty Phillips, Catherine Glidwell, Alex White and Asa Ambrister. 





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