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BWW Feature: A Mash Note to MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM AND MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Richmond Shakespeare

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BWW Feature: A Mash Note to MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM AND MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Richmond ShakespeareToday I have memories from some Richmond Shakespeare shows of yore that remain clear in my heart but maybe not so much in my head. Perhaps there's someone out there who can clarify for me.

First is a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Agecroft Hall that featured dl hopkins as Oberon. As I recall, it was my first Richmond Shakespeare production--maybe around 2004--and I was gobsmacked by it. I hadn't previously seen the pared-down casting, the minimal scenery, the focus on language that the company practiced. I hadn't been in the magical Agecroft courtyard as the sun set and the breeze came up.

But more than that, dl was breathtaking in a feathered mask as the king of the fairies--just a crazy, all-out, hilarious performance in the midst of a delicious production. I couldn't find much about it online--there's a photo that looks right, with dl in that mask, connected to a Style Weekly review. I've seen a lot of Midsummers since then, but this remains my favorite--just the shock of something fun and new and outrageous. I haven't seen nearly enough of dl since then.

And then there was Bob White. This special actor had a big impact on me. I found my review of the "Much Ado about Nothing" he was in at the Gottwald in 2009, but I'm pretty sure he was in at least one Richmond Shakespeare show at Agecroft as well, though I can't find anything about it. Or about him. I think he came to perform in Richmond after training at the American Shakespeare Center. He had a disability of some kind--not sure what it was--which he overcame in spectacular fashion to become a strikingly original performer. He played Dogberry at the Gottwald, and he pretty much stole the show, despite the strong cast around him, including Liz Blake, Dave White, Billy-Christopher Maupin and Jonathan Conyers. I believe he has since passed away, though again, I can't find anything about that.

But these memories, hazy though they are, have stuck with me. I would be happy to hear from anyone who remembers better than I do.

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From This Author Susan Haubenstock