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SHAKESPEARE IN THE HILLS is a collaborative project between On the Edge Theatre Productions and the Laguna Hills Community Center. This year we are presenting two shows in rep – TWELFTH NIGHT and MACBETH. (Performance info can be found at the bottom of this post)

kerry shannon

Kerry Hedley (left); Shannon Dodson (right)

INTERVIEW WITH KERRY HEDLEY. Kerry plays Feste in TWELFTH NIGHT

Describe the character you play in 3 sentences or less.
Feste the Fool is an autonomous sort, a bit of a gypsy who moves between households with ease and confidence. She is not beholden to anyone, so she is free to speak her mind, though she uses songs and stories to do so. A studied observer of human character, she is actually the wisest person in the play!

What similarities do you share with your character?
As a single woman, I am fairly autonomous in some ways as well, with no husband to answer to, and grown children who no longer need me on a daily basis. I also enjoy music greatly, and had the privilege of setting Shakespeare’s lyrics to music for this show. And though I do enjoy “people watching”, I will leave it to others to determine whether or not I am wise!

How are you different from your character?
Feste is a woman of total confidence who cares little about other’s people opinions – I am not built this way at all! She also travels in circles of power – both socially (Lords and Ladies) and politically (Rebel Generals), which is certainly not true for me.

Why do you feel Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant today?
Because he writes stories that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the human character – the truths he shares are timeless and still have value for us today. Though his extremely large and inventive vocabulary sometimes makes it a little challenging to decipher what he is saying – it is well worth the effort!

Why do you enjoy performing Shakespeare?
My usual wheelhouse is musical theatre, but it is fun to take on the mental gymnastics necessary to understand and memorize a substantial role in a Shakespearean play. Of course, I get the perk of getting to sing in my role in this show, which is also fun.

What professional actor do you admire and why?
I always have a hard time with this one. Unlike so many of my theatre friends – I am not well versed in this subject (really knowing a lot about an actor’s body of work). I did have the great privilege of seeing Victoria Clark play Margaret Johnson in her Tony award winning performance in Light in the Piazza in New York City a few years ago and it was extremely inspiring. She truly inhabited the character, and I could see and feel all the emotions Margaret went through in that wonderful show. I also have to give a shout out to the magnificent Linda Eder, since I went twice in one week to see her in Jekyll and Hyde here in the OC before it went to Broadway. I would have gone to more shows had time permitted – she was transcendent in that role (which was written for her).

If acting is not your day job, what is?
I serve as the volunteer music director at a small community theatre in Irvine, in addition to a substantial leadership position at Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo.

Describe your perfect Sunday afternoon.
After an early wake up call for church – my perfect Sunday afternoon would include lunch out with family or friends after the service and then a nap! As a true theatre nerd and biological night owl – Sunday morning is usually the day my alarm clock goes off the earliest!

Call out someone who MUST see your show!
Clare Kiklowicz – my patron liaison at the Segerstrom Center. We have had too many near misses for her to come see me perform!

Performance Bio for Kerry Hedley
Though she grew up singing and dancing, Kerry never had the courage to audition for a show until her senior year in college. Kerry rediscovered musical theatre in 2000, and has been performing in five or six shows a year since then. The roles nearest to her heart are Marmee in Little Women; Anna in The King and I; Vi Moore in Footloose; and Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! Kerry feels it is a great privilege to work with Dawn Doherty once again, having shared roles with her; played opposite her; and been under her direction many times in the past!

INTERVIEW WITH SHANNON DODSON. Shannon plays Olivia in TWELFTH NIGHT and one of the Witches in MACBETH.

Describe the character(s) you play in 3 sentences or less.
Olivia has been through a lot – she’s lost her brother and her father and her world is turning upside down – but she’s got a good heart, and she’s trying to make it work. The witches are just…creepy. It’s cool.

What similarities do you share with your character(s)?
I’m just about as awkward around boys as Olivia is. Let’s be real.

How are you different from your character(s)?
WELL I’VE NEVER MURDERED ANYONE. (That’s the witches. Not Olivia. What a weird show that would be.)

Why do you feel Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant today?
As someone close to me likes to say, “it’s about the human condition!” People always have been and always will be struggling with the things Shakespeare is writing about – love, and power, and frustration, and self-doubt. Shakespeare’s relevant because Shakespeare’s real.

Why do you enjoy performing Shakespeare?
It makes me look smart, TBH. But also for all the reasons I said above! The language is beautiful, but you’re still talking about really relevant things.

What professional actor do you admire and why?
I’ve adored Audra McDonald since I was teeny and singing Annie every Christmas.

If acting is not your day job, what is?
I’m a legal secretary, which is just as exciting as it sounds.

Describe your perfect Sunday afternoon.
The beach, tacos, iced coffee, good company. I don’t get sunburned. All is well.

Call out someone who MUST see your show!
Chris Evans, if you’re out there…

Performance Bio for Shannon Dodson
Shannon Dodson has a BA in theater from Biola University and is really loving her first show with OTE. Previous favorite roles include Tom Jones (Honour),The Diviners (Jennie Mae), The Importance of Being Earnest (Lane), Little Women (Jo), and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Gertrude).

Shakespeare in the Hills 2016

TWELFTH NIGHT directed by Dawn Doherty and MACBETH directed by Josefine Damgaard

Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT will play July 29, 30, 31, and August 7. In rep will be Shakespeare’s MACBETH performing August 5, 6, 12, and 13.

The shows will start at 7 p.m. The shows will be held on the lawn near the gazebo at the community center. Bring a beach chair, blanket, and a picnic dinner. Tickets are just $10 for adults. Kids 12 and under are free.

The show will be held at the Laguna Hills Community Center on the lawn by the gazebo, 25555 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA 92653.

For both productions being offered at this year’s Shakespeare in the Hills, we are accepting online registration at https://apm.activecommunities.com/lagunahillscs or follow “register a class” links at http://www.ci.laguna-hills.ca.us/ (follow “register a class” links).
On the day of each show, we are accepting cash only at the door (no checks, or debit/credit cards).

For more info: email aurorajculver@gmail.com
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More info on OTE can be found at http://www.otetheatre.com