Brave Spirits Theatre Performs The Two Gentlemen of Verona


Victoria Reinsel and Charlene V. Smith are proud to announce the formation of a new professional theatre company, Brave Spirits Theatre. Brave Spirits is dedicated to bringing fresh, energetic productions of the works of William Shakespeare and other early modern playwrights to the Washington, DC region. The company has a triangular focus: text, actor, and audience.

We believe the text itself holds all the clues we need to perform an early modern play with truth and vitality. We are a company that believes the actor is at the center of the artistic process, and seek to produce plays with an ensemble-driven approach. We feel that the audience is the final ingredient needed to bring the play to life. In keeping with the early modern aesthetic, there is no fourth wall, and we engage the audience as a fellow actor, an active participant in the world of the play.


Brave Spirits Theatre is launching with a production of Shakespeare's early comedy, The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Were man but constant, he were perfect. Proteus betrays everyone dear to him when he forsakes his fiancée, Julia, for Silvia, the beloved of Proteus' best friend, Valentine. After arranging to have Valentine banished for his plans to elope with Silvia, Proteus attempts to win Silvia's favor with the "help" of Julia who, disguised as a boy, has followed Proteus. Can the two ladies and Valentine teach Proteus a lesson in constancy and forgiveness?

The Two Gentlemen of Verona has delighted and challenged audiences and critics throughout its history. Though it is a lesser-performed work, it deserves a place alongside Shakespeare's greatest works. It contains witty wordplay that matches Love's Labor's Lost and servants that out-clown the Dromios. The romantic speeches equal those of Romeo and Juliet in their beauty. The play manages to be light-hearted while at the same time delving into the darker aspects of human nature, much like The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona will perform Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8pm, and Saturday matinees at 2pm, from June 16 - 25. Press night is Thursday, June 16, 2011, at 8pm. The performances will take place at The Fridge DC, located at 516 8th Street, SE (accessible via the rear alley), Washington, DC 20003 ( Tickets are only ten dollars and will soon be available at

Six actors will take the audience on an entertaining and heartfelt journey. The cast is made up of young actors from the DC region, all with extensive experience in Shakespeare and early modern drama. Between them, they have worked with the American Shakespeare Center, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Folger Theatre, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Washington Shakespeare Company, Maryland Shakespeare Festival, and the Shakespeare Factory. Jeremy Lister plays the conflicted Proteus. Jonathan Lee Taylor is his best friend Valentine. Victoria Reinsel plays Proteus' fiancée, Julia. Charlene V. Smith plays Valentine's love, Silvia, and Julia's maid, Lucetta. Ian Blackwell Rogers plays the father of Silvia, the Duke; the father of Proteus, Antonio; and Proteus' servant, Launce. David F. Zimmerman, Jr. also plays multiple roles, including Valentine's page, Speed; Antonio's servant, Pantino; and Turio, a foppish suitor to Silvia.


Jeremy Lister (Proteus) THEATRE: The Resurrectionist King (Dr. Selden Crow) at Active Cultures; Private Lives (Victor Prynne) at Washington Shakespeare Company; Goodbye Love... (Patrick, Romulus) at Tenth Muse Productions; The History Boys (Ensemble) at Studio Theatre; Art (Yvan) at Source Theatre Company (in Norfolk); The Elephant Man (Porter) at Virginia Stage Company. TRAINING: BS in Psychology and Minor in Theatre from Old Dominion University; Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory.

Victoria Reinsel (Julia) THEATRE: Much Ado About Nothing (Hero), Titus Andronicus (Lavinia), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Anne Page, William, Rugby), Henry IV, Part 1 (Lady Mortimer, Peto), The Rehearsal (Cloris, Pallas, Luna), A Midsummer Night's Dream (First Fairy/Moth), The Revenger's Tragedy (Sordido) at American Shakespeare Center; Julius Caesar (Soothsayer), Twelfth Night (Ensemble, u/s Maria) at Orlando Shakespeare Theater; Cymbeline (Arviragus, Helen) at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company; My First Time (Woman 2; DC premiere) at Rasa Arts Collective; Hal Harry Henry (Henry VI's Consciousness) at Shakespeare East; The Tempest (Caliban/Ferdinand/Antonio), Henry VIII at The University Wits; Pericles (Marina) at Mary Baldwin College (MFA production directed by Tina Packer). TRAINING: MFA & M.Litt in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance from Mary Baldwin College/American Shakespeare Center; BA in Theatre/Literature from Marlboro College; Shakespeare & Co.; British-American Drama Academy.

Ian Blackwell Rogers (Launce, Duke, Antonio) THEATRE: The Winter's Tale (Leontes) at Shakespeare Factory Players; A Thing for Redheads (Peter) at Calliope Arts/Capital Fringe Festival; Jack the Ticket Ripper (Playwright) at Georgetown Theatre Company/Capital Fringe Festival; The Insect Play (Otakar, Parasite, Ant), The Chairs (Orator, Old Man understudy), The Plague (Prefect), Public Enemy (Robert) at Scena Theatre; Fathers and Sons (Bazarov), Crime and Punishment (Raskolnikov) at Stanislavsky Theater Studio; Scaramouche (Leandre, Fencer) at Washington Shakespeare Company; Black-Ey'd Susan (Sweet William), Our American Cousin (Lord Dundreary), The Stage-Struck Yankee/Victorian King Lear (Curtis, Edmund) at New Old Theatre. TRAINING: American Conservatory Theatre Summer Training Congress.

Charlene V. Smith (Silvia, Lucetta) THEATRE: Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice), The Comedy of Errors (Emilia, Assistant Director), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania, Hippolyta) at the Shakespeare Factory; Macbeth (Witch 1, Porter) at Push/Pull Theatre Company/Capital Fringe Festival; Measure for Measure (Isabella), Julius Caesar (Portia), The Spanish Tragedy (Director) at Rude Mechanicals; Picnic (Millie) at Spotlighters Theatre; The Cripple of Inishmaan (Helen) at Silver Spring Stage; World Premieres of John Moriogello's Jack the Ticket Ripper (Julie) at Georgetown Theatre Company/Capital Fringe Festival and A Thing For Redheads (Jessie) at Calliope Arts/Capital Fringe Festival; A Long Day's Journey Into Night (Assistant Director) at Virginia Shakespeare Festival. TRAINING: London Dramatic Academy; BA in Theatre and English from the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa; M.Litt Candidate in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance from Mary Baldwin College/American Shakespeare Center.

Jonathan Lee Taylor (Valentine) THEATRE: The Merchant of Venice (Bassanio), Henry V (Henry), Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio) at Maryland Shakespeare Festival; Twelfth Night (Sebastian) at Baltimore Shakespeare Festival; Hamlet (Osric) at Folger Theatre (2011 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Play); 1776 (McNair) at Olney Theatre Center; Gianni Schicchi (Doctor, Notary, Servant) at Georgetown Theatre Company; Crimes of the Heart (Barnette) at Firebelly Productions; Tartuffe (Valere), Summer of '42 (Pete), The Mousetrap (Giles) at Monomoy Theatre Company. UPCOMING: Stop Kiss (Peter) at No Rules Theatre Company. TRAINING: BFA in Musical Theatre from the Hartt School.

David F. Zimmerman, Jr. (Speed, Turio, Pantino, Eglamor) THEATRE: Cyrano de Bergerac (Raganeau u/s), The Comedy of Errors (Dromio of Ephesus/Syracuse u/s) at Folger Theatre; Women Beware Women (Sordido) at Constellation Theatre Company; Merry, Happy...What? (David) at The Hub Theatre; Romeo and Juliet (Tybalt, Apothecary), The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Michael, Host, Pompiona), All's Well That Ends Well (1 Lord Dumaine, Gentleman), Christmas Carol (Fundraiser 1, Businessman 1, Plump Sister, Rent Man) at American Shakespeare Center. TRAINING: BA in English Literature from Liberty University.

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