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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Virtual selections from 3 Shakespeare plays set by Door County company

Critic At Large

Door Shakespeare

Show poster. (Door Shakespeare)

BAILEYS HARBOR, Wis. (WFRV) – Door Shakespeare will offer an online presentation of excerpts from three William Shakespeare plays Feb. 12. Info: doorshakespeare.com.

According to a news release:

Door Shakespeare will bring together nine artists to share excerpts from the three plays that are featured in Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” as part of the 2021 “NEA Big Read: Door County,” running through Feb. 13. Info: doorcountyreads.org.

At 7 p.m. Central Standard Time Feb. 12 live and free via Zoom, Door Shakespeare will present selections from “King Lear,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Richard III.”

The book “is set in a post-apocalyptic North America, 20 years after the initial collapse of civilization when culture is reshaping itself and defining a new normal.”

Says Michael Stebbins, producing artistic director of Door Shakespeare, “‘Station Eleven’ is an amazing novel. In a world left bereft of so many things after a devastating flu pandemic swept through the world, the fact that art survives in the form of music and theater, and drives a band of individuals forward in a time of desolate existence, speaks to the power of the musical note and the written word – specifically William Shakespeare. That the book was chosen as the 2021 offering prior to our current pandemic, makes the story and journey all the more powerful.”

Scenes from, and references to, William Shakespeare and his plays weave through “Station Eleven.” Door Shakespeare will share selections from the plays and discuss how their themes and parallels reverberate through the book.

The presentation is directed by Charles Fraser and features performances by Sadé Ayodele, James Carrington, Isabelle Dippel, Ross Dippel, Amy Ensign, Heidi Hodges, Donna Johnson, Mark Moede and Ryan Zierk.

Six of cast members. (Screenshot)

Sadé Ayodele, who will be playing Titania, is a Los Angeles-based actor and writer. Prior to relocating to her home state of California, Ayodele spent the 2018-2019 season with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. She is reconnecting with Milwaukee through Door Shakespeare.

James Carrington returns to Door Shakespeare for his fifth year, having appeared in the 2016, 2018 and 2019 summer seasons and most recently in the company’s 2020 virtual production of “The Comedy of Errors.”

Isabelle Dippel, who will be playing Cordelia in “King Lear,” is a senior at Sturgeon Bay High School, where she has played roles including Cosette in “Les Miserables” and Rosalie Mullins in “School of Rock.” She has also participated in teen theater around the state, including at Green Bay Studio 12 and The Birder Studio of Performing Arts. She has trained across the country with programs including The Broadway Collective, Making It On Broadway and American Players Theatre. Having spent five summers at Camp Will, Isabella Dippel is “incredibly excited and grateful” to be doing her first professional project with Door Shakespeare.

Amy Ensign, Door Shakespeare’s managing director, appeared on the outdoor stage as Mistress Page in 2019’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and most recently in J.M. Barrie’s “Shakespeare’s Legacy,” part of the 2020 Door Shakespeare (virtual) Reading Series. Ensign’s Door County credits include work with Peninsula Players Theatre, Northern Sky Theater, Theatre M, Teatro Carravagio, Third Avenue Playhouse and nine seasons at Door Shakespeare. When not at Door Shakespeare, Amy is the theater director for Sevastopol School.

Charles Fraser made his Door Shakespeare debut in 2020’s virtual production of “The Comedy of Errors.” He has been an actor in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota for more than 25 years, performing with Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Jungle Theater, Zephyr Theatre, Yellow Tree Theatre, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Mixed Blood Theatre, Playwrights’ Center, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minnesota Shakespeare Project and Illusion Theatre.

Heidi Hodges has orbited theater her entire life. Her associations include the Heritage Ensemble (now Northern Sky Theater) as box office manager. She worked for the Door County Advocate and continues a weekly column that started in 1998. She currently is the editor of the Washington Island Observer, co-owns the Door Kewaunee Arts Guidebook, and runs a photography and writing business, and does volunteer photo work for Door Shakespeare. 

Making her Door Shakespeare debut, Donna Johnson had her start in community theater shortly after moving to Door County. She has been in productions at Rogue Theater, Isadoora Theatre Company and Theater M and has participated in Third Avenue Playhouse’s “Winter Play Reading Festival” for three years.

Mark Moede has performed for more than 45 years in a variety of states, countries, languages and genres. Twenty five-plus years of these performances include the Door Peninsula, beginning with Theatre M, which he and his wife Mary White founded in 1991. Recent work includes Door Shakespeare’s “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged],” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Twelfth Night,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Tempest,” Northern Sky Theater’s (then AFT) “Life on the Mississippi,” “The Spitfire Grill,” Theatre M’s “Talking Heads,” “The Revival of Billy Sunday,” Third Avenue Playhouse’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Subject Was Roses” and Peninsula Players Theatre’s “And Then There Were None,” “The Hollow” and “The Full Monty.”

Ryan Zierk is a Milwaukee-based actor who earned his bachelor of arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He performed with Door Shakespeare in the summer of 2018, and was part of the Door Shakespeare Reading Series in 2019. In summer 2019, he toured Wisconsin, traveling to 18 state parks, with the Summit Players, a traveling Milwaukee-based Shakespeare company, playing Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet.”

Door Shakespeare was founded in 1995 under the umbrella of the then-named American Folklore Theatre. Since becoming its own nonprofit in 1999, the organization has produced 40 productions of classical theater by playwrights including Shakespeare, Moliere and Oscar Wilde.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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