Theseus=Rob Wheeler & Mark Creter
Peter Quince=Emily Stefanick
Nick Bottom=Ben Jones
Francis Flute=Matt Bassett
Tom Snout=Charles Long
Robin Starveling=Max Magura
Robin Goodfellow, a puck=Steven W. Gwilt
Changeling Boy=Jonathan Carpenter
Darius Fragopolis=Littlest Fairy
Directed by Mark Harry Creter
Assistant Director …….Carrie Foley
Stage Manager…….Dana Grantham
Assistant Stage Manager…….Liv Sinclair
Producers…….Chad McDonald, Steve Gwilt
Costume Design & Construction…….Jennifer Dotson-Creter
Props…….Dana Grantham, Chris Vanling,Tyler Cole
Lighting Design…….Brandon Walls
Make up…….Laura Calcote & cast
Music Arranger…….Cale Koester
Fight Choreographer…….Aaron Peipmeier
Animal Head Craftsman…….Colin Forsyth
Set Construction…….Chad McDonald, Keith Gentry
Voice Coach…………Amy Carpenter
Poster, Program & T-Shirt Artwork…….Wayne Hogan
Poster & Program layout……..Steve Gwilt
Presented by The Dept. of Leisure Services,
Cultural Arts Division
The Cookeville Drama Center, in conjunction with
The Backdoor Playhouse
Kathy Gilpatrick, Wesley Foundation Arena Theatre
Dave Johnson,Jane Ellen,Jim Herrin, Clear Channel,
Lindsay McReynolds, Herald Citizen,
Beth Thompson, A Rare Find
***Please turn off all pagers, cell phones, and other infernal noisemakers***
A Few Thoughts from the Director
I love Shakespeare, I really do. I love to read his plays, to direct them and to act in them. There is no playwright more exciting to spend time with. His understanding of human nature and the art of the theatre and how those two intersect amaze me. The beauty of Shakespeare is the desire he inspires to share his work. Once you getShakespeare you want to share that with everybody. This is the third time I have been involved in the beginning of a Shakespeare festival. The first time was back in 1990 in Altoona, PA. What an exciting summer that was for a 29-year-old actor just barely out of graduate school. My first lead in one of Shakespeares plays, the classic comedy of the sexes, Taming of the Shrew, was an awesome experience. The next summer we started the East Tennessee Shakespeare in the Park in the Worlds Fair Park in Knoxville, TN. What an equally awesome experience. For the next twelve summers we would convene in Knoxville and mount two Shakespeare productions. One year A Midsummer Nights Dream and Romeo and Juliet, the next Henry V and The Tempest and so on. Over the course of twelve years we brought Shakespeare to thousands of audience members and I had some of the greatest theatrical experiences of my life. But times change, the ETSP became Shakespeare on the Square and with the recent birth of my son, Gus, I found incentive to stay close to home. Of course Steve and I have talked for years (as have many local performers) about the viability of a local Shakespeare festival. Cookeville seems to love Shakespeare. The local productions of Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Nights Dream were always well attended and the success of the Drama Centers 2002 summer production of Of Mice and Men showed that there was an audience for summer fare. With the building of the Dogwood Performance Pavilion the stage was set (forgive the pun). Much praise should be directed to the city of Cookeville and specifically Chad McDonald and Steve Gwilt for supporting this endeavor and trusting me to direct the premiere production. Also, special thanks to the talented actors and technicians who have given their time to bring this production to life and hopefully lay the groundwork for a Shakespeare Festival that will dazzle audiences young and old alike for years to come. I hope you enjoy this production of A Midsummer Nights Dream and will continue to support theatre in Cookeville.
Eleni Fragopolis (Titania) was last seen as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Backdoor Playhouse. She studied theatre at the University of Tennessee and is happy just to be able to do her craft. She would like to thank her husband Greg for his support; and Darius, the littlest Fairy, for behaving so well during the rehearsal process.
Steven W. Gwilt (Puck) has been active in theatre for over thirty years. He received his B.A. in Theatre/Speech/Mass Communications and added an M.A. and an Ed.S. in Education to his dusty collection of diplomas. He has acted,directed,produced, coached, taught, and competed in theatrical adventures at a myriad of levels and a variety of venues. Favorite experiences include traveling to Washington, D.C. to perform in the Drama Center production of Of Mice and Men, and being named Best Director at the South-Eastern Theatre Conference in Norfolk, VA for the Backstage production of The Harry and Sam Dialogues. Shakespearean experience includes King Richard in Richard III, Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Henry V, The Tempest, Love’s Labours Lost, Hamlet, and Bottom in the former Backdoor Playhouse production of Midsummer. Thanks, Beth, for the hair! This wild cast and their antics have truly made his ***** hurt.
Byron Masters (Peaseblossom) is pleased to be in Cookeville’s first Shakespeare in the Park production. He would like to thank Mark, Dana, Kale and Kat, the Faerie Crew, and all of his fellow cast mates.
Callie Higgs (Cobweb) is happy to be seen as a fairy again (though the last time was eight years ago!). Since then she has been in many shows and danced on many stages. She would like to thank her friends and family for all the support they have given throughout the years and more so recently.
Casey M. Fox (Hermia) is thrilled to be a part of the first Shakespeare in the Park. Earlier this season she appeared at the Backdoor Playhouse as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire and as the lusty and busty Vanessa in Play it Again, Sam. Professional roles include Elsie in The Secret Garden, Mustardseed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Denise in the regional tours of Smoke on the Mountain and A Sanders Family Christmas, which included stops at the hallowed Ryman Auditoriumin Nashville. Casey has also appeared in The Vagina Monologues, Oliver!, Children of Eden, The Music Man, and My Fair Lady. She wants everybody to know how much she loves them, especially Carrie for being the most tubular, gnarliest valley girl-friend ever. Summer-tastic!
Sean Dietz (Lysander) is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. Since fleeing the Chinese Communist takeover of Tibet in 1959, he has dedicated his life to teaching compassion and understanding to his pseudo-intellectual … buddies. His tireless efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in his homeland earned him the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. He’d like to thank Bill Shakespeare for all his kooky skits.
Patrick Mannle (Demetrius) is in a state of perpetual ecstasy when ever he is around Mark Creter. He has the largest collection of Creter paraphernalia below the Mason-Dixon line. He has dedicated his studies and free time to the pursuit of achieving greater and higher levels of Creter-awareness. You may see him haunting the terminals of airports and the corners of rescue missions bring his mission to the masses. Mark appreciates all of the effort, but finds it spooky enough to buy a guard dog and seek a restraining order.
Charles Long (Tom Snout)Charles A. Long (Snout/Wall) is happy to be back on the stage after taking a long hiatus to work on career goals. Charles was last seen on the Drama Center stage as Lenny in Of Mice and Men. His more memorable characters include Jake Rollins from The Borderland, Serge from Art , both Drama Center Backstage productions, and “Audrey II (the voice of the plant)” in Little Shop of Horrors at the Backdoor Playhouse. He would like to especially thank his wife Stephanie, who has not only become his muse, but his daily source of inspiration… “I Love you, Sweetheart”
Tyler Cole (Snug) dwells in Red Boiling Springs. He writes and performs music between marathon viewing sessions of “The Misadventures of Britney Spears and the Pizza Delivery Boy.” Tyler is in the process of creating a campaign slogan as he has announced that he will run for vice-president. “Bring it on, Dick!”
Max Magura (Robin Starveling)I is making his debut at the Dogwood Performance Pavilion. This is also his first time doing Shakespeare and working with Mr. Creter. Max was last seen as Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird at the Wesley Foundation Arena Theatre. He loves to play soccer, act, and hang out with his friends. Max would like to thank Mark for giving him this wonderful opportunity, this great cast and crew, the Reel family for letting him use Bosco, and his mom and dad for their love and support.
Joshua Winscott (Oberon) returns to the stage, having last been seen the original Backstage production of Bartleby the Scrivener. He has played many parts in recent years, his favorite being “Daddy” to the audience of three angels. He is ecstatic to be in his first full Shakespearean production and thanks Creter profusely for including him. He also thanks the wonderful cast and; “To my Earendil, I would never have made it without you!”
Rob Wheeler (Theseus) is happy to be back floundering around the stage. It’s been a while since he’s been under the lights, mostly at the Backdoor Playhouse where he was involved in a number of shows such as Faustus, Waiting for Godot, Lysistrata, I Hate Hamlet, and Heathen Valley. Also, though you may not be able to tell, Rob has done Shakespeare before as he was a company member in the Knoxville Shakespeare in the Park/Box Festival for a number of years. In real life, Rob works in the theatre, the Varsity Theatre, for MMA Creative. Rob would like to dedicate this performance to his wonderful wife Beth, and their beautiful baby boy Graham. “Thanks, Sweetie, for letting me play around again. I love you both.”
Chicago gal Tamara Guzlas (Hippolyta) proudly makes her Shakespearan debut. Her stage appearances include Steel Magnolias at the Backdoor Playhouse, Little Mary Sunshine, Jesus Christ Superstar, and George M at the Bennsenville (Illinois) Community Theatre. She is very excited to get to work with Mark Creter, Beth Thompson and Dawn Luegge again and is looking forward to hamming it up playing the Amazon Queen. She wishes to send special prayers to her biggest fan Aunt Kathy and hopes she gets to feeling better soon.
Larry Farley (Philostrate) is participating in his first production, Shakespearean or otherwise. Larry enjoys playing music and has learned a great deal working with this cast.
Beth Thompson (Egeus) is really happy and terrified to be a part of this very first Shakespeare in the Park. She would like to thank a wonderful cast, for all the laughs; Mark, for the opportunity to attempt another language; Steve, for interpreting (!); and Brian, Lain, Mom and Dad, the best family money can buy.
Katie Davis (Helena) has been out of the “theatre loop” for four years and is very glad to be back onstage! (She’s also out of practice, so if she butchers the part, send all complaints to Mark!) She was last seen on the Cookeville High School stage as Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town and Queen in Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Shout outs go to: Mom and Dad, Shakespeare (her cat), Merry-for making her audition, Carrie-for adopting her, Mark-for thinking she could pull this off, and the makers of OFF! Skintastic Bug Repellent!
Emily Stefanick (Peter Quince) is very excited to be back on stage before taking a break to give birth. She was last seen as A Cajun Woman in the Backdoor Playhouse production of A Streetcar Named Desire. She wants to thank the cast and crew for sharing their food, and Mark for overlooking the fact that she might go into labor at any point during the show. Finally, she wishes to thank her husband for his constant understanding, love, and support.
Ben Jones ( Bottom) is originally from Clarksville, where he has performed in numerous productions at The Roxy, and APSU. He and his wife recently had a son and moved to Cookeville from Monterey CA. where he was also involved in theater. Some of Ben’s favorite roles include Hamlet, Arrleccino in Servant of Two Masters, and John Wilkes Booth in Assassins. Ben was last seen as Mitch in Streetcar Named Desire at TTU.
Matthew A. Bassett (Francis Flute) has appeared in productions both for the Cookeville Drama Center and the TTU Backdoor Playhouse. He has also performed for regional theatres including the Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Lexington Children’s Theatre, and Tennessee Stage Company. Matt is pleased as punch to be involved with this production and looks forward to directing Peter Shaffer’s Equus at the TTU BDPH this fall . Matt wants to thank the Creters, Gwilt, Chad, Dana, cast and crew, friends and family, and His Holiness the Seany Lhama for his guidance. Matt invites you all to be his baby’s mama’s mama.
Dawn Luegge (Moth) has been active in theatre since she was a little girl. Highlights include performing in the award winning Drama Center production of Of Mice and Men in Washing ton D.C. (what happens there, stays there!). Dawn is uncontrollably drawn to open flames and porch lights.
Samantha Miller (Mustardseed) is proud to sport UT colors. “Go Vols!”
April Krack (Lilu) chef appelé par individu des fées. Crouching on the edge of reason, just beyond rationality, this faery is the provocateur of restless nights and erotic dreams. She is the one who ensnare us with compulsions, fixations, feverish imaginings. Yet within the dark tangle of images she weaves are the glittering threads of our own healing – for even as she conjures our compulsions she holds out the ability to release their grip, enabling us to confront and let go of all that we no longer need. (Brian Froud Good Faeries, Bad Faeries)
Jonathan Carpenter (Changeling Boy) is having fun in the first Shakespeare in the Park production. He is teaching the cast a lot. Jonathan is also quietly observing the cast and keeping notes, so watch out!
Darius Fragopoulos Davis(littlest fairy) is performing in his second show this year. His true love is sports, but the arts are a close second. His only disappointment was that his sister, Hristina, could not be a fairy also. Of course, she is only two.
Bosco (Dog) is making his theatre debut. He is a 1 1/2 year old Jack Russell Terrier and a graduate of Cookeville Canine’s Puppy Obedience School. He would like to thank Max for thinking of him for the part and his dog handler/owner, Jake Reel.
Mark H. Creter (Director) is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Tennessee Technological University as well as the artistic director of TTU’s Backdoor Playhouse. This past year he directed successful productions of Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatrical Production from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia and his Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After finishing his college training he spent a number of years performing professionally in regional theatres and dinner theatres from Greensboro, North Carolina to Omaha, Nebraska. He is co-founder of the Tennessee Stage Company and the company’s annual East Tennessee Shakespeare in the Park in Knoxville, Tennessee where he has worked as an actor, director, and producer. Favorite roles include King Richard in Richard III, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Banquo in Macbeth, and Antony in Antony and Cleopatra for which he received a Best Actor award from the Knoxville Area Theatre Coalition. In the summer of 2002 he directed a critically and commercially successful production of Much Ado About Nothing that featured five actors portraying fifteen characters. The KATC awarded this production Best Show of 2002 and Mark, Best Director. Although primarily a director, Mark also appears periodically on local Cookeville stages in order to “keep his saw from getting rusty”. Recent performances include the role of Marc in the Cookeville Drama Center Backstage Series production of Art by Yasmina Reza, Larry in the TTU Backdoor Playhouse production of Hospitality Suite by Roger Rueff and Pato Dooley in the Cookeville Drama Center Backstage Series production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh. Mark will return to the stage this fall to play Martin Dysart in the Backdoor Playhouse production of Equus by Peter Shaffer.