The Iowa Shakespeare Experience Work Samples




Scenes from Demonstration Festival 


Repertory Mainstage Productions 2009


Much Adoo-Wop About Something by W. Shakespeare and L. Sandoval, MFA


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, by Long, Singer, Winfield, and Borgeson. 




The Iowa Shakespeare Experience Work Samples




Much Ado About Nothing

Salisbury House 2007

Found Space Theatre infused with live music and dance


IMPORTANT SPECIAL NOTE: Creating a mixed-media theatre dvd is an expensive proposition - - and were it not for voluntarism, an enterprise that would otherwise be far beyond the financial reach of our small nonprofit.  Note that this dvd and all video clips were produced entirely by volunteers, using amateur equipment.  

  • Volunteers had to navigate many challenges.  They had to maneuver on uneven ground in the dark, and in such as way as to not obstruct live audience views (for example, through bushes!).  
  • Also, the outdoor setting inherently means there will be many insect or other ambient sounds and sound challenges.  
  • Additionally, the editing process was similarly donated to our non-profit on a shoestring


While in most cases you will nevertheless see EXCELLENT quality media material (– astonishingly so!) please be respectfully aware of these extenuating circumstances - -we humbly request your full forgiveness of the occasional flaw. 



The Iowa Shakespeare Experience at Salisbury House


ARTISTIC DIRECTION: An Example of Found Space Theatre


Salisbury House is a 1920s architectural construction -  an Historic House Museum  that is a lovely location for Shakespeare- but a location lacking various normal accoutrements of theatre, such as a back stage and wing area, certain lighting and sound abilities, and a traditional audience seating area  In particular, producing theatre at this site involved the use of an underground tunnel so that the Actors could move about backstage out of view of the audience- however, the tunnel took some time to traverse, making costume and scene changes sometimes require a bit more time to effect than would be usual. 

  • The space also presented various challenges in terms of orienting the show to the audience for maximum sightlines.  We use an unusual but effective configuration where Actors treat the stage as if it were a 180 Degree “half round”, although the stage area itself is square. This means the play is performed on a diagonal. (Those viewing the DVD should note that audience is arranged on essentially 3 sides, although the dvd is able to capture one particular viewing angle at a time, and often one far off center. .Keep in mind that at all times, the audience can see far more than the DVD can show.)


As a theatre non-profit which specializes in presenting what’s known as “Found Space” theatre (theatre presented in non-traditional spaces as they are “found”)  the ISE helps fellow non-profits extend their mission to new audiences.  So The Iowa Shakespeare Experience is undaunted by such challenges.  Instead- we thrive!


This series of clips shows our creativity and our truly artisan approach to handling challenges such as managing timely costume and scene changes made difficult by terrain difficult to maneuver in. The clips demonstrate our genuine expertise with implementing “Found Space” theatre and also (as you will see below) our significant expertise in providing scholarly interpretations of Shakespeare that simultaneously draw in the modern audience or Shakespeare newcomers.  


The viewer will note that a particular challenge of our productions at Salisbury involved building the Shakespeare program there from ground zero- after a general absence of Shakespeare from the area for nigh unto a decade.  This meant that our productions were carefully crafted to delight the Shakespeare aficionado with dramaturgical excellence- while at the same time, designed to systematically nurture and grow an audience relatively new to the Bard.  


Our phenomenal success in this regard is evidenced by the fact that starting with an audience of zero, we grew to audiences of over 1000 in merely three years. 


Examples of the infusion of music and dance 


Much Ado About Nothing: Basic Plot Overview:


In the main storyline of Shakespeare’s famous comedy, a smart and sophisticated young woman, Beatrice, meets her match with the charming Benedict. Both have been “confirmed bachelors” but both wind up quite surprised by falling in love with each other- tho certainly neither wants to be the first to actually admit their love!  This story takes a good deal of the possible misogyny of “Taming of the Shrew” and turns it on its ear! 


As is typical with Shakespeare, several other sub-plots interweave into the main storyline.  One additional plotline involves the famed Villain Don Juan – a villain who is simply that: a villain- he designed mischievous tricks and attempts to disrupt the course of true love for no other reason that to be villainous.  Another plotline involves the story of Constable Dogberry, a humble law enforcement officer who Shakespeare designed as over the top comic relief.  In our version of the Dogberry story, Dogberry is a female, obviously pregnant constable- providing delicious humorous moments with the same type of base humor as Shakespeare crafted- while at the same time, foreshadowing the way in which due to the suffrage movement of the 1920s, women would soon indeed become fully able to assume a role of a lead police officer or any other role.  And again as usual with Shakespeare, all of the plots are furthered by mistaken identities (aided and abetted by the goings on at the masked ball) as well the humorous plot devices of obvious eavesdropping.  


In a way startling to modern audiences, Shakespeare’s plays often juxtapose ribald humor, graphic sexuality, and deepest human drama and pathos close together – the “mood” and dramatic “style” of his works often changes quickly.  Thus, the view should note that the way in which this story moves abruptly from the comedic to the tragic is part of its original design.  Because in juxtaposition to the delicious light comedy described above, in this story, a more serious plotline also emerges in the intersection of all this comedy  The villain Don Juan sets into play Shakespeare’s famous plot device of mistaken identities- with truly tragic results.  Beatrice’s cousin? Hero, who has also fallen in love and is preparing to marry, is framed by Don Juan who perhaps resents her happiness.  Don Juan sets it up so that she appears to be meeting a man at her window late at night in compromising circumstance.  All untrue, but so scandalous that Hero’s fiancé Claudio refuses to marry her, and Hero apparently dies of grief (or is otherwise be spirited away by her family), who also turns on her in grief, horror and anger.  But Beatrice is outraged by how wronged her cousin is.  


How we handle the setting:


Shakespeare’s plays were in his day, modern contemporary stories which Shakespeare himself often placed in another historical time, such as in early Greece.  Today, Shakespeare’s own tradition continues as his plays are often set in a wide variety of historical times pre-dating or post-dating the Renaissance.  Because this production involves working with a1920s historic house museum to extend its mission, our production deliberately sets our version of the story in the 1920s, and the story of Much Ado was deliberately selected because in many ways, Much Ado correlates closely with the “new” (modern) view of women which in America, arose with 1920s suffragettes. 


However, our version of this story takes time travel one step further, again quite deliberately.  Because the viewer will note although built in the 1920s, this historic house was built as a replica of Tudor architecture which lends itself to Renaissance times. Thus, the audience at the play is invited to time travel during the play much as they do when touring the house:  In our 1920s story, we posit that the Masked Ball prominent in Shakespeare’s tale is a Masked Renaissance Ball.  This allows the characters to at one point, assume full Renaissance dress as they dress for the Ball- and gradually shed their party dress as the night wears on- allowing the audience a delicious sense of time travel between various eras – so that our version of the play truly showcases the personality of the house.  After all, part of the keen challenge and art of Found Space Theatre is allowing the theatre to be informed by the space – and we believe that we meet this challenge most creatively and with extraordinary integrity in this production.  All of this is foreshadowed when the costume rack is rolled out as a natural part of the character’s preparations for either the Costume ball or the wedding which follows it, allowing the audience to be in on the all the many layers of the tale.   


Thus, in deliberately playful manner, we mix and blur the sense of time – and as time passes and the night deepens (as  first light mist, then heavy fog fills the night air), we encourage the audience to move seamlessly from Shakespeare’s own Renaissance era back and forth into the era in which the historic house was built.  Rather than ham-handedly simply slapping “Shakespeare” onto this unique setting, we create a deliberate multidisciplinary, multi-sensual broad feast- using color, excellent dramaturgical research and top production values (including costuming, original dance and period-researched music) to under gird our high-end production of this classic tale with truly artistic, truly excellent production choices.  


DVD TABLE OF CONTENTS:  Locating and comprehending Tracts  













Kim Fitch and the Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra set the stage!

1 ½



Directors comments and setting the story 


At the courtyard of Leonata’s home, various family members and friends are preparing for the arrival of guests who will be attending a masked Renaissance-themed ball. Leonata’s brother, Don Antonio, the playful and somewhat eccentric kindly uncle, enjoys his role as one of the party’s hosts.  



Car Approaches – the plot thickens

Production Values

Visitors to the house and the Ball start to arrive. 

2 ½



Don Juan- hisss, boo

Drama/Comedy mix

Caught humorously as he is in the middle of having to dress for the Renaissance Ball (and disgusted by the whole idea!) the scene features speech by the famous evil-for-evil’s sake Villain, who has no real reason to be mean, but is evil-to-the-core anyway – the only way he does have fun!



Party set up

Classic Scene

Preparing for the masked ball



The Masked Ball

Dance: Mix of professional dancer with Actor Non Dancers- specific and unique demand of theatre.  The Dance has 3 distinct parts

Scene also demonstrates a great technical challenge- when non-dancing Actors must engage in dialogue during movement.  

At the masked ball, various romantic plots and intrigues begin to unfurl as characters (sometimes knowingly and sometimes in the dark) interact with one another from behind masks which give them the freedom to say things they might otherwise not. 


Later, one of the guests enjoys a playful dance first with the other women – who quickly drop out as they don’t feel they can keep pace with this expert dancer.  So the dancer humorously chooses Uncle Don Antonio as her next partner- much to the older man’s delight.  He- and she- both rise to the occasion – to the thrilled, surprised amusement of the rest of the party.  But no one is more surprised than Don Antonio! 

(in 3 parts)


Claudio part 1

Classic scene

Claudio and Hero’s relationship



Claudio  part 2

Classic scene

Claudio is in love with Hero and wants to marry her




Classic scene

Benedict muses on love and life




Classic scene

Beatrice muses on love and life



During Intermission

Production Values


20 secs


Bringing the Audience back from Intermission

Production Values


40 secs


Act II opening

Production Values




The Servant’s Song


Shakespeare explicitly writes a song into his play at this point in the action, as the “below stairs” folk engage in a little friendly entertainment.  We update ours to the 1920’s period. 




Famous comedic scene – considered to be among Shakespeare’s most successful comic bits

In this classic scene, the crazy, “Lucy”-esque moments of Shakespeare come out.  As Hero takes in the night air before retiring to bed, Beatrice hides behind a tree to eavesdrop on Hero. Hero, fully aware Beatrice is there all along, plays a trick on her as she spins tales about Benedict, the object of Beatrice’s interest. 



Nightwatchman returns

Comedic relief, as Shakespeare designed this material to be

As the night before the wedding deepens, Nightwatchmen at Leonata’s home find mischief is afoot.  Not the most competent watchman in the world (easily blinded by each other’s flashlights) they call in Dogberry, Shakespeare’s deliberately course stock Constable figure, a large function of which in Shakespeare’s world was simple comic relief.  In our version, Dogberry is played as a pregnant constable from North Dakota- a foreshadowing of the way in which as part of the 1920s and women’s suffrage, women did begin to find more occupations open to them  



Hello Bluebird



Leonata, (mother of bride to be Hero), and her brother prepare the family home for Hero’s upcoming wedding while the band practices for the big event.



Wedding Tableau and Wedding, part of Mother’s 


Use of music and drama

Following a musical tableau, presenting without words the ambivalence and worry of the major characters about the forthcoming wedding (as Hero playfully tosses her bouquet from the balcony in Beatrice’s direction), the scene transitions into the (first) wedding scene where Hero’s character is assassinated. Her own mother turns on her, but the mother’s grief for her daughter is also evident. 



Beatrice’s Famous Monologue
“Oh if I were a man”

Intense drama

Angry at how easily those of her sex can be undone by unfair, vicious rumors and innuendo, Beatrice flails out at the nature of relationships between men and women 



Fight 1 Uncle is Angry

Classic scene

Semi-comedically but with pathos, an indignantly enraged Uncle (Don Antonio), trying to avenge his niece, takes on much younger or bigger men, who back away in a mixture of horror, pathos and respect. 

40 secs


Fight 2 Uncle is Angry

Classic Scene

The uncle of disgraced bride-to-be Hero swears punishment on those who he perceives to have wronged his niece, while with pathos, the other gentlemen back away, not wanting to engage physically with the older, smaller man.



Love Part 1

Classic scene

Beatrice and Benedict truly are in love



Love Part 2 

Classic scene

Beatrice and Benedict 

40 secs


Love Part 3 and Conclusion of the Scene, begin the music


Beatrice and Benedict unite at a second mysterious wedding



Charleston Bergamask

Final Big Production Number

Production Values;

Choreography for Non-Dancers

Following the second wedding, the guests strike up their heels in an amusing Charleston, where once again playfulness is revealed as all try to keep pace with one another for the sheer joy of the evening!  Note that in Shakespeare’s time, almost all plays closed with a Bergamask (a dance), a tradition the ISE subscribes to. 












Artistic Director (Dramaturgy, Interpretation, infusion of multi-disciplinary elements): Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA

Play Adaptation: Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA

Director: Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA

Technical Director (Setting, Props, Costume Vision, Lighting Design, Set Transitions): Robin Heinemann


Producers:  Robin Heinemann and Lorenzo Sandoval, MFA


Choreographer: Karina Barone

Assistant Choreographer: Elizabeth Cameron

Musical Director:  Jon Benoit

Costumes: Mel Ziegenfuss and Abigail Livingood

Sound and Light Master: Jake Hines





John Bach (Claudio, One of the lovers, also returning from the skirmishes in Mexico, visiting with Don Pedro)

Mike Bany (Friar, Judge-Double cast roles of local authority)

Karina Barone (Mysterious Tango Dancer -A mysterious 1920s Tango Dancer who attends the party.  What more do ya want!)

Trey K. Blackburn (Borachio ,Don John’s henchman and comrade from the skirmishes)

Elizabeth Cameron,( Ursula, A poor relation of the household, who helps with household chores and is a companion to Hero)

Ruthellen Cunnally, (Leonata-Head of the household, owner of the Mansion where the story takes place, mother of Hero and Beatrice’s aunt)

A. Fogg (Night Vistor, a mysterious night visitor who adds much to the production)

Joe Leonardi ( Don John-Don Pedro’s inherently wicked brother)

Grey Lovelace (Conrade- Another of Don John’s henchmen and comrades from the skirmish, visiting the House)

David Oddy (Benedick, One of the lovers, who is returning from skirmishes in Mexico, visiting the House with Don Pedro)

Suzie Oddy (Dogberry The pregnant local constable – originally from Fargo, ND)

Rachel Salowitz ( Hero, One of the lovers, the daughter of Leonata)

Lorenzo Sandoval (Don Antonio- Brother of Leonata, uncle to Hero and Beatrice)

Benjamin Sheridan: (Bathazar A poor, very distant young relation, helping in the household)  

Kerrry Skram (Beatrice, One of the lovers, the niece of Leonata, living at Leonata’s home)

“T.T.” (Chauffer-  Has driven the visitors on their journey home from Mexico)

Dean Williams ( Seacole- An underling of Dogberry’s, a night watchman)

Jennifer Wood (( Margaret-Another poor relation, also a friend to Hero, sent to help in the household from her Southern home)

John Zickenfoose, (Don Pedro The Ambassador of Mexico, visiting old friends Leonatta and Antonio)



Ballyhoo FoxTrot Orchestra  

Musical Director: Jon Benoit

Lead Singer: Kim Fitch



Production  Notes from the Playbill:

(By Lorenzo Sandoval)


Set against the Roaring Twenties era when Salisbury House itself was built, and when women won both the vote as well as their first taste of liberation, this is—not at all coincidentally—a comedy about one of Shakespeare’s most liberated woman.  “Free-thinking” women! Watch the sparks fly, right along with the flapper’s fringe! 


The classic scenes between Beatrice and Benedick are some of the most realistic, fiery dialogues in all of Shakespeare. It is a glorious, complex, mysterious tango of love, pain, and deception. This spectacular, multi-layered, passionate portrayal of the war between the sexes is then played to great comedic effect against the terrific villainy of Don John. He is simply bad, bad, bad to the bone--and bad for no particular reason other than the sheer joy of it!   He’s the spitting image of the guy you love to hate.


Tonight’s presentation of Shakespeare’s favorite dramaturgical devices—elaborate gambits and mistaken identity- offers audiences the best of two worlds. Torn between a love of the classic and a yen for the new? Tonight, we’ll meet both your demands.  A fresh interpretation of the Bard’s classic is, in our production, paired with a scene or two set in traditional Renaissance splendor!  The elegant, Gatsby-esque occupants of our grand Midwestern manor are hosting a Renaissance-themed Costume Ball.  Enjoy the sense of time travel as, along the way,  you are treated to genuine, historically accurate songs of the Jazz Age, performed by the Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra as well as the dazzling Tango of Argentina’s Karina Barone.


The story line?  We took a few liberties with it, but it is very simple: comedy paired with high drama.  Plots are hatched, more plots are hatched, yet more plots are hatched, divergent plots unite in a sword fight, tragedy ensues, inanity ensues, trees move, and everybody gets married – or not - to the right person – or not.  But, thank heaven, a Fargo-esque pregnant Constable – well, why not?-- makes sure it all stays within the law.  


As Bibliomania puts it: “The play is best known and best appreciated for its comic wordplay, unmaskings and minor characters”… the actual plot is incidental.  


In closing, Sylven Barret of Tufts University notes that “newcomers to the Bard are apt to inquire:  ‘Why don’t they just do “authentic” Shakespeare, “straight” Shakespeare, the play as Shakespeare wrote it?’ Barret continues: “But, as we read the plays- words written to be performed – it sometimes becomes clear that we do not know how to perform them. The plays are filed with lines that call for gestures- but we are not sure what the gestures should be.  In Shakespeare, ‘interpretation’ is inevitable.  Inevitably our productions are our adaptations.  It is a truism that every age invents its own Shakespeare.”


Barret concludes with the following thought about Shakespeare plays.  They are “so cunningly contrived that they guide our responses, tell us how we ought to feel, make a mark on us, but … we also make a mark on them.”


So relax, and enjoy.  Let the play make its mark on you- and go ahead and add your mark of imagination to it.  Tonight you are joining a tradition in which thousands upon thousands of revelers all across the world partake- that time honored tradition of “Shakespeare under the stars” – when fine culture, fine friends, fine wine, fine picnics, fine gardens, and the finest elements of nature blend together in joyous abandon.  Settle back – and enjoy the show!






The entire play takes place in the 1920s in the courtyard of a palatial home, somewhere in the Midwest, during the night before and the day of midsummer, and the day that follows. The play will be performed in two acts, with a 15 minute intermission.  


Act I: Don Pedro, the Ambassador of Mexico, Don John, his troublesome brother, and Claudio and Benedick, two friends and military associates of Don Pedro, are returning to the Midwest from the recent Mexican skirmishes (see historical notes.). They arrive for a visit at the palatial Midwestern home of their old friends, Leonata and Don Antonio, brother and sister.  Living in Leonata’s household is her daughter, Hero, and her strong willed niece, Beatrice.  Poor relations Ursula and Margaret have been sent by their families to be helpers to the wealthy Leonata, and have become companions to Hero, despite Margaret’s penchant for the Southern Comfort in her ever-present flask, a tribute to her southern roots.  Young Bathasar, a very distant cousin, also helps the household as a jack-of-all trades. 


What luck!  The travelers have chanced to arrive at teatime on the day the family is planning to host a Renaissance Costume Ball to celebrate midsummer’s eve.  The travelers are invited to stay for the Ball that night.  The household is in a delightful state of anticipation for the Ball.  Eccentric brother Don Antonio is having the time of his life, overseeing the decorations and plans for the great party.  Don Antonio sees to it that the travelers are provided with wonderful Renaissance costumes, although the only costume left for Don John is a ridiculous Jester suit, which Don John reluctantly and ruefully wears.  His innate desire to cause serious mischief grows.  Borrachio and Conrade, old friends and henchman of Don John, who have also arrived for the Ball, help fuel Don John’s desire to plot trouble.


At the Ball, guests finish donning their Renaissance duds.  Some of the guests have gone all out and arrive in full Renaissance attire, although there is big trunk of Renaissance hats and boas out for those who need a little prodding to get in the mood.  One of the arriving guests is an elegant lady who eventually steals the spotlight from the other women with her sizzling Tango, the popular dance of the times.  Under her spell in the sultry night air, the magic of the Tango momentarily transforms even wacky Don Antonio into an ardent Latin lover.  


Although all too soon the lovely Tango dancer must leave the party, love itself is in the air.  Claudio and Hero have experienced that glorious mystery: love at first sight.   But naturally, Claudio and Hero’s love must survive a misunderstanding:  at the Ball, Claudio jealously thinks Don Pedro was wooing Hero for himself.  But actually, Don Pedro had been wooing Hero for his friend, Claudio, trying to help him get the girl.  


In the meantime, another duo experiences sparks.  You see, Beatrice and Benedick had, at an earlier time, a romance.  Beatrice harbors some bitterness about it still, although she hides her hurt with her quick wit.  She has become a liberated lady who vows never to marry, and Benedict matches her as a liberated man who also vows not to marry. Their complex relationship is stirred to the boiling point at the costume Ball, a setting rife for mistaken identities – and for pretending not to know who someone is- if there ever was one.  


After the Ball, with Beatrice’s help, Claudio and Hero figure out the misunderstanding and with Leonatta, plan to get married the very next day.   But now enter the gloriously evil Don John, who doesn’t like all this happiness of the impending wedding.  


So as the party revelers go in from dancing to dinner, and as the night draws long and deepens, plots begin to be hatched in the cooling night air of the Courtyard.  With Borrachio’s and Conrade’s help, Don John seizes at a plot to confuse identities so that aspersions will be Hero’s purity to disrupt the whole thing.  


Barrachio will be with Margaret in Hero’s clothes. Don John will have Claudio and Pedro look up in the balcony and have see Hero, with another man, messing around.  


Yet another plot is hatched in the midsummer’s night air.  To humor himself while they are waiting for the wedding, Don Pedro devises a plan Beatrice and Benedict together.  He contrives a joke that will make Benedict think Beatrice loves him, and vice versa.  Don Pedro gets Leonatta and Claudio in on the act, and even the poor relations join in the fun.  Things are deliberately said when it is known that eavesdroppers are listening.  


Act II:  Act Two opens with an after-midnight scene that takes place in the Courtyard the same night of the Ball.  By now, the household has retired to bed.  The mansion’s’ pregnant night watchman, Dogberry, tells her security guards to keep an eye out for the safety of the sleeping guests.  The security guards overhear Boracchio and Conrade boasting about how successful their ruse was that fooled Claudio. The guards round up the troublemakers and ask Dogberry to interrogate them.  


The next afternoon, Hero and her companions prepare for the wedding that is to take place that night.  Margaret needles Hero about being married, while Beatrice, out of sorts, remains perplexed about what she’s overheard about Benedict’s love for her.  The household ponders love and marriage from their divergent viewpoints. 


As evening approaches, those involved in the wedding gather in the Courtyard for the ceremony.  But when the Friar routinely asks if there is any reason the wedding should not take place, Claudio suddenly reveals he is angry about Hero’s apparent infidelity.  Tensions mount as Don Pedro, who has also been fooled, even accuses Hero of being a “common stale” (whore).  When Claudio, Pedro and Don John (who is enjoying all this) storm out, the confused and hurt Hero is even set upon by her own mother, who has also believed the stories of Hero’s impurity.  


The Friar hatches a plot to save Hero: he suggests they all pretend Hero is dead, hoping the drama will shock Claudio into feeling remorse and reminding him how much he loved her.  While the household leaves to enact this plan, Benedict, touched by the emotion of the day, confesses to Beatrice that he loves her.  Through her own anguish about Hero’s fate, Beatrice confesses she loves him too.  When Benedict says he’ll do anything for her, Beatrice says she wants him to kill Claudio to revenge her cousin.  Benedict won’t go that far, but vows to confront him.  


Behind the scenes, Dogberry and a judge interrogates Borrachio and Conrade.  They learn that Don John paid them $1000 dollars to accuse Hero wrongfully.  The judge thinks that Don John, who escaped, died of remorse, so the evil-doers appear to have been dealt with.


Meanwhile, Leonatta and Don Antonio, very upset by the whole situation, encounter Claudio and Don Pedro, who are leaving to go home.  To avenge his niece, Don Antonio tries to engage them in a fight to no avail.  But Benedict arrives and challenges Claudio to a duel, although Claudio and Don Pedro rebuff his threats.  However, Night Watchperson Dogberry arrives and exposes all the plots.  Claudio, who now feels just awful, is asked by Leonatta to absolve Hero, who she still pretends is dead.  Leonatta demands that Claudio not only absolve her daughter, but marry another niece who looks exactly like Hero.  This way, Leonatta can see the wedding that should have been her daughter’s. 


The next day, a veiled woman in the wedding party is presented to Claudio for marriage, and Benedict and Beatrice are coaxed by the evidence of the love poems they had been writing into making it a double wedding.  Dogberry announces Don John has been captured, the household plans to deal with him tomorrow, and the household’s celebration is on.  


HISTORICAL NOTE:  Mexico experienced some rebellions during this era




Hi Jacksonian! 


Hope you had a terrific Easter!  I had hoped to see you (wanted to take you shopping for your Christmas Gift Certificate- sure hope you found that in your stocking ok!) because I was in Chicago over Easter- but wouldn’t you know it, your Mom tells me you were with your dad in Arizona.  Oh well!  I know that Artizona is very pretty- so hope you had a wonderful time!


I was also hoping to talk with you about the reason I am writing you today – its because Lorenzo and I had a very exciting idea!  Don’t know if it will work for everyone or not- but we figure we might as well ask- because this opportunity only comes up very rarely!


Here is our idea!  We are not sure if you like theatre or not- but we know that Emma and Charlotte do- and we think Sophie does, too!  And we know that all of you girls would be VERY good at theatre, if you liked it!


So here’s the scoop: I think you remember that Lorenzo and I run a big theatre festival here in Iowa – you came to see it once several years ago.  


Well, this year, we are doing a special new play in a brand new location – it’s a really cool place (check out the pictures!) and everyone has so much fun doing our shows here!


So, I thought you might be interested in a VERY special opportunity. It is not the kind of thing which comes around all that often, so if you would like to try doing this, I wanted to make sure I gave you the chance!


The show we are doing this summer has a few roles for Fairies – especially for the Fairy Princess!  I thought you might maybe be interested in being the Fairy Princess – and maybe the other cousins might also like to be Fairies!


How could this work, with everyone living so far away?  Well, it might not work at all, and it might be especially hard on those who live further away than you do.  And, a lot depends not only on whether everyone’s parents say they can do this (of course), but also on whether Aunt Debra or Aunt Kate are interested in helping out.  


But you see, Lorenzo and I got to wondering if you guys (or just you) were interested in being in a really big, professional show (you’d even get paid a little!) – something you can put on your resume that would be really fun and amazing, we wanted to give it a try!  


What we are wondering is this.  IF (and that might be a big IF) Aunt Debbie or Aunt Katie was willing to have you (and maybe the others) stay with them for 2 weeks this summer, and IF you wanted to be in the show, then Lorenzo and I could offer you the job of Fairy Princess!


Again, this would be what they call in the biz a “professional role” – meaning you get paid and most importantly, you get to be in a real professional company! (As we say in the theatre biz!)

So, what are the details?


The details look like this:


You would need to be in Iowa from July 6 to July 20.  I MIGHT be able to wiggle the start time around a bit to make it later- if there was some special conflict you had.  But I couldn’t wiggle the ending time, since that is when the shows run.  


Most of the time you were here, you would have a lot of free time to read, swim, or whatever.  If you stayed at either Aunt Debbies or Aunt Kate’s, you would have a pool – and you could probably help your Papa or either of your Aunts while you were here too.  


But, in the early evening, you would be working your new job in theatre!   Here’s how that would go:


The dates when we would need you to be here for rehearsals start on July 6.  You would rehearse for an hour or two just about every evening  until what we call  “Tech week”.  


Tech week starts July 11.  “Tech week is when the big dress rehearsals start- we bring in all the fancy lights and stuff, and so Tech week rehearsals are usually pretty long. You wouldn’t have to be there the WHOLE time- but you would have to stay up to about 10 or even 11 each night so that you could practice in what we call “real time”.  


Then comes the really cool part- performances!  The show runs from July 16-July 19- and we have July 20 set aside in case we need it as a rain date.  (However, even if it rains, we ALSO have a really cool indoor location, too!)


What does being The Fairy Princess involve?  In this particular show, all the fairy stories are told in dance.  That means, you would not have to learn a speaking part – which makes it much easier!


On the other hand, you would not have to dance very much, either.  What the student fairies do (that would be you) is – unless they are ballet students which some of them are- - they do what we call “movement”.  That is not really dance, it is more like “striking a pose” – kind of like a tableau or statues.  You would take little mini-lessons from our Choreographer, who is the lead ballerina, and you would be up on stage “acting” like a fairy through the way you moved and through the way you would pose.  Our Choreographer is pretty famous, and has been on tv- so another thing for your resume is you can say you took lessons from her!


Anyway, the kind of movement we have in mind is called “lyrical movement”.  It is a little like adding dancing or twirling (you – not the baton thing!)  to regular walking- kind of a cross between the two. During the play, you would probably be on stage about 5 maybe 6 different times- from about 4 minutes to maybe as long as 8 minutes each time- but mostly for shorter times.   I KNOW you would be very good at this!


What is your costume like?  You would have a costume like the other fairies, which is sort of a woodland little shorty dance dress – kind of tie dye in green and browns.  That may change a bit, but it would be something like that. AND, because you would be the Fairy Princess, you would also have a little tiara.  I am not sure yet if you would have Fairy wings or not- you might.  You would have pretty face-paint type make up, and would probably wear your hair up like ballerinas do – although we are pretty flexible about hair.


I hope you’ll think this sounds like fun, and that you night be interested!  We actually have a LOT of girls who would love this part, but they are not my nieces- parts like this for beginners to be with a professional show don’t come around that often, so I wanted my OWN nieces to have first shot at this – IF you want it!


Now, two more things.  First, you need to know that EVERYONE in a play always has lots of different back stage jobs.  When you weren’t being a fairy, you would maybe be working with props, and everyone has set up and tear down chores every night.  It is a great way to learn teamwork- and everyone is a very important part of making the whole thing work.  


Second, you probably don’t need me to tell you this, but everyone in a professional play has to be very professional when the show goes on.  You have to be careful not to get loud back stage, and not to miss your cues (A stage manager will help you with that.)  You have to not goof off while the play is on.  If you get bored, you can always watch the play or bring a book or computer to work on.   Again, I know you are probably not the type of kid who will have a problem with the goof off stuff- or I wouldn’t be inviting you in the first place!


The last question you probably have is: What about the pay part? Well, you DO get to get paid- and that is important, because you can put on your resume that you were in a paid theatre company- very impressive!  But, you won’t get rich- none of us artists do – unfortunately!


We call what we pay our artists “honorariums”.  (Means a form of honorary recognition – not like a “real” paycheck – just an honorary thank you.) Most of our artists, like Lorenzo and me, work on this project for months and only make about $300 or maybe $1,000 for our big roles.  


Because  you are my neice, I would make special arrangements to pay you $100 – which is comparable to what many of our artists in small roles get for working on the play for 2 months- but  you would only be doing it for 2 weeks!  So, that may or may not seem like a lot to you- but for our project and the size of your role, you would be making a heck of a lot!


So Jacks- what do you think? I know that you will likely have to think about it – and of course will have to ask you Mom and Dad.  I understand if it won’t work out. 


But on the other hand, this really is a kinda once-in-a-lifetime chance to have something really special to put on your resume!  (It always looks EXTRA cool on your resume to be able to say you were in a Shakespeare play, too! Extra fancy!)  And, you would have photos that you can attach to your resume, too.  


Also, since this is in Des Moines, your Mom could come see you and also your dad – AND I bet your Omaha relatives like Sybil and Trudy would drive out to see you, too.  Also, your aunts here in Des Moines and Uncle Tad would see you too, of course – maybe we could even get your Papa to come! (I have special hard of hearing devices for anyone at the festival to use, so he could try one of those!  And we have a golf cart to get him in!) 


Also, if your Mom is worried about how to physically get you out here and back home again, you can tell her that if she couldn’t bring you, I could drive into Chicago to pick you up and could bring you back home again, too.  


Anyway Jacks – if you are interested, you would be following in your Grandpa George’s footsteps a little bit- and you would end up with a great experience, I think.  I am sure your Aunt Debbie or Katie would be a lot of fun for you to be with- you wouldn’t see me all that much because I will be crazy busy- but it would be fun for us to get to know each other a little bit too.


So  - - think about it!  Keep in mind this kind of opportunity does NOT exist in every play- in fact, there aren’t that many plays which have these kinds of roles. 


But this play is Shakespeare’s famous : Midsummer Night’s Dream- and it is all about the Fairies!


So if you are interested in this kind of thing in your life at all, try to make this work- I may not have another opportunity like this for you again.


Oh, and about your cousins – IF you were interested, I would also send an email to your other cousins to see if they wanted to come to.  They wouldn’t be the Fairy Princess, so I couldn’t pay them- but I could buy a costume for them and have them be part of the show.  But if you weren’t able to do this, I may or may not ask the other girls- just because with them coming from so far away, it would be harder- and you wouldn’t be here to help guide the younger ones, which I would count on.  


Let me know, Jacksie!  Just send me an email to:

515 274 8989


PS: If you are interested, I will hold off asking other girls from here in Des Moines until you find out if your Aunt;s (or maybe even Uncle Tad) would let you stay here.  As for getting you to and from the rehearsal site, I can help with that a little- but hopefully your Aunts could help drive you as well.  We would figure it out.  


Lots of love, Aunt Robin