Lord Denney's Players

Lord Denney's Players

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"This experience has changed the way I look at my experience as an English major because it has shown me that lab-based learning has a place in English." 
— Miriam Nordine


Lord Denney’s Players is a theatrical group housed in The Ohio State University Department of English. It was founded in 2014 to demonstrate the value and vitality of student-driven academic theatre. LDP provides an opportunity for Ohio State undergraduates, graduate students and faculty to engage in intensive experiential learning and research around the annual production of an early English play or series of plays. During the rehearsal and performance process, related special topics workshops, courses and assignments throughout the English department offer myriad opportunities for hands-on student and faculty investment.

LDP is invested in all dramatic works of the medieval and early modern periods, but because of his role in the formation of the English literary canon, LDP often returns to Shakespeare. It is now almost a cliché to say that Shakespeare’s plays were exclusively meant to be vehicles for performance, but in the past thirty years, mounting evidence that Shakespeare considered himself a literary dramatist now requires scholars to consider the effects of his works both on the page as well as on the stage. LDP productions are therefore as preoccupied with the ways that Shakespeare’s texts were transmitted through the technologies of the past as they are with the ways that modern audiences reshape his plays to suit the preoccupations of the present.

Surviving documentary evidence reveals that Shakespeare was a compulsive self-editor and reviser, regularly returning to offer updated or alternative versions of now-canonical works like HamletKing Lear and Romeo and Juliet. As part of its educational mandate, LDP regularly chooses to perform these less familiar versions of the works of Shakespeare to bring these scholarly debates about Shakespeare’s working habits to wider public attention. For our work with the 1602 early quarto text of The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2018, LDP was awarded a Resolution of Expression from the Columbus City Council.

In our endeavors to use the resources of Ohio State University to investigate unusual texts of Shakespeare and his predecessors and contemporaries, it might be argued that LDP is following historical precedent: the title page of the first quarto, or “bad” text of Shakespeare’s Hamlet of 1603 insists that the play had not only been performed in London, but also at “the two Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.”

Casting for LDP is all-inclusive, welcoming the talents of all Ohio State students, faculty and staff. The concepts for LDP shows are always built around our ensemble so we are easily able to accommodate everyone who might be interested in learning more about early English drama. Whether they wear hijab and starred in musical productions throughout high school but never touched a word of Shakespeare, or if they have never acted before (but have plenty of fencing experience!), or if they can perform a note-perfect impression of Laurence Olivier as Richard III, or if their mom just thinks that they’d be great at it — all curious and interested would-be actors are encouraged to audition. Our performance and rehearsal spaces are wheelchair accessible and all LDP shows are cast gender-blind. Our work is made possible thanks to the support of anonymous alumni donors, for which we are eternally grateful.

For more information about the company, contact Creative Director Sarah Neville. To keep up with Lord Denney’s Players, follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


CURRENT PRODUCTION

Details forthcoming

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PREVIOUS PRODUCTIONS

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An Excellent and Conceited Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
April 4-6 and 11-13, 2019
Van Fleet Theatre, Columbus Performing Arts Center


Probing the nature of love, violence and language itself, this intricate coming-of-age tragedy has withstood the test of time as one of Shakespeare’s best-loved and most performed plays. 

This production took an experimental approach to this classic story. Our production was set in a society out of time, defined entirely by the all-consuming violence of the feuding houses. We aimed to explore young people’s resistance to deeply held collective beliefs and investigate their role in effecting social change. 

The production used an adaptation of the First Quarto version of the text. The First Quarto text is considerably shorter than the “canonical” Second Quarto version, features richly detailed stage directions, and contains interesting textual variations. 


Cast

Romeo—Lior Livshits, first-year majoring in theatre and economics
Juliet—Jordan Booker, second-year majoring in theatre, English creative writing and music
Nurse—Anna Cotterman, second-year majoring in environmental policy and decision making
Benvolio—Joey Hoffmann, fourth-year majoring in English
Capulet—Joseph Glandorf, third-year majoring in philosophy and political science
Lady Capulet—Devon Mushalko, sixth-year majoring in music and English
Friar Laurence—Matthew Mayberry, fourth-year majoring in English
Mercutio—Ellie Rogers, alumna of theatre
Tybalt—John Jude, second-year majoring in anthropology
Prince—Natalie Dalea, fifth-year majoring in English
Paris—Antony Shuttleworth, faculty of English
Montague/Ensemble—Kallen Alsdorf, third-year majoring in English and art history
Lady Montague/Ensemble—Nicole Neifert, first-year in exploration
Balthazar—Abbi Voda, alumna of English
Peter—Hannah Nelson, third-year majoring in English and anthropology
Apothecary/Ensemble—Joe Flynn, third-year majoring in English and history
Friar John/Ensemble—Amita Kharabe, first-year in exploration
Ensemble—Kelly Kline, second-year majoring in linguistics
Ensemble—Jenny Morrison, first-year majoring in English and theatre


Crew

Director—Cat McAlpine, communications manager at Cloudbreak Health; alumna of English and linguistics
Assistant Director—Joseph Glandorf
Stage Manager—Hannah Woods, third-year majoring in English and Russian
Assistant Stage Manager—Hannah Nelson
Dramaturge—Joseph Glandorf

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Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor
April 4-7, 2019
Van Fleet Theatre, Columbus Performing Arts Center


Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor was first printed in 1602 and reprinted in 1619, before it appeared in 1623 in a version that was nearly twice as long. (A surviving copy of the second quarto is held in the Stanley J. Kahrl Renaissance and Restoration Drama Collection of the Ohio State library.) Though the play has been a perennial favorite with audiences throughout the intervening centuries, these performances have always been based on the Folio version of the play. This naturalization of the Folio as the “complete” or “authentic” version of Merry Wives has caused critics to make specious and often inaccurate claims about the provenance of Shakespeare’s plays in print and the performability of the earlier text onstage. Characterized as the baddest of Shakespeare’s so-called “bad quartos,” the 1602 play text has endured little from scholarship but scorn. The Lord Denney's Players' student-driven production in April 2018 redeemed Q1’s crossed-fortune by giving it an opportunity to stretch its legs upon the boards.

And make no mistake, this production was not only student-driven, but student flown, ridden, piloted and steered. Alongside their work learning lines, practicing choreography, designing costumes, sets, sound, makeup and music, undergraduate students collaborated on promotional material, organized ticket sales and commissioned poster artwork, constructed props and managed spreadsheets. They did all this while simultaneously completing the written work of an upper-level undergraduate course in Shakespeare specializing in thorny textual problems and the eccentricities of early modern book publication, allowing the laboratory space of the theatre to inform their reading of primary and secondary material. As a result of their long and deep investigation, these students’ knowledge of the Q1 text of the play surpasses that of all but a handful of Shakespeare scholars, many of whom traveled many miles in order to come see the production and participate in a conference on this text of the play.


"I’ve learned in the discussion of so-called “bad quartos” that Shakespeare wasn’t perfect.  His plays often went through many revisions, contrary to the popular myth that Shakespeare was an infallible playwright."
—Maxwell Steele (BA'18)


The Conference | ‘Wives may be merry, and yet honest, too’: Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor in Context

A joint undergraduate and faculty conference held alongside our production, ‘Wives may be merry, and yet honest, too’: Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor in Context was held April 6 and 7, 2018. The conference featured a keynote address from Professor Jean Howard (Columbia University) and talks by David Lindley (University of Leeds), Helen Ostovich (McMaster University), Richard Dutton (Ohio State/Queen’s University-Belfast), James J. Marino (Cleveland State University), Adam Zucker (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and Musa Gurnis (independent scholar). Fourteen undergraduate students presented their current scholarly work on medieval and early-modern women through a variety of topics, offering fascinating arguments such as the Trobairitz, Elizabeth Cary, evolutionary perspectives in literature, Antony and Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth and printed drama.


Reception

For our efforts in bringing the 1602 quarto text of Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor to life for the first time since the play had been printed, the City Council of Columbus awarded the Lord Denney's Players a Resolution of Expression commending our production. A film has been made of the production; to acquire a copy, please contact Creative Director Sarah Neville


Cast

Mistress Ford—Kallen Alsdorf
Mistress Page—Hanna Mandernach, senior studying English on the pre-education track
Sir John Falstaff—Levi Prudhomme
Master Ford—Isaiah Johnson, third year studying theatre and political science
Master Page—Joey Hoffmann, third year studying English
Mistress Quickly—Hannah Woods
Doctor Caius—Conner Limbaugh, junior studying English
Justice Shallow—Keir Lamont, Program Manager for the Program on Data and Governance at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Parson Hugh Evans—Antony Shuttleworth
Master Slender—Joseph Glandorf, second year majoring in philosophy and political science
Host of the Garter—Ellie Rogers
Anne Page—Madison Task
Master Fenton—Joseph Flynn, second year studying English with a specialization in creative writing
Ensign Pim—Shanna Smith Jaggars, Director for Student Success Research for ODEE at Ohio State
Corporal Nim—Jake Cody, junior majoring in English and minoring in professional writing, and music, media and enterprise
Bardolph—Hannah Nelson, second year English and Anthropology major
John Rugby—Pablo Tanguay
John Simple—Natalie Dalea, fourth-year studying English and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Falstaff's Page—Bri Clemens, English and professional writing major
Children of Windsor—Mary Dolley-Kinsey, double major in English and economics
Children of Windsor—Miriam Nordine
Chorus—Hannah Grace, senior studying Chinese and International Studies with minors in Geographic Information Science and English


Crew

Director—Sarah Neville
Assistant Director—Clara Davison, third year studying Arts management and business with a specialization in philanthropy.
Stage Manager—Heather Frazier, PhD candidate in English literature
Assistant Stage Manager—Mary Dolley-Kinsey, double major in English and economics
Assistant Stage Manager—Hanna Mandernach, senior studying English on the pre-education track
Assistant Stage Manager—Levi Prudhomme
Dramaturge—Elizabeth Steinway
Assistant Dramaturges—Hanna Mandernach, senior studying English on the pre-education track
Assistant Dramaturge—Levi Prudhomme
Choreographer—Kim Wilczak
Assistant Choreographer—Madison Task
Costume Designers—Tiffany Evans, English major
Costume Designers—Natalie Dalea, fourth-year studying English and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Costume Designer—Danielle Meller, junior studying biology
Costume Designer—Hannah Woods
Makeup Artist—Melissa Theodore
Fight Choreographer—Jason Speicher
Music Director—Hannah Grace, senior studying Chinese and International Studies with minors in Geographic Information Science and English
Sound Engineer—KP Boadu
Set Designer—Ashton Ansel, sophomore studying English on the pre-Education track
Set Designer—Jake Cody, junior majoring in English and minoring in professional writing, and music, media and enterprise
SET DESIGNER—Melissa Theodore
Props Master—Miriam Nordine
Promotions—Bri Clemens, English and professional writing major
Promotions—Becca Nunemaker
Promotions—Maxwell Steele
Front of the House—Isabel Ciminello, senior studying English
Front of the House—Danny Reese
Conference Secretaries—Alli Gill, fourth year English major
Conference Secretaries—Sam Schrama


Special thanks

The productions of Lord Denney’s Players are made possible through the generous support of an anonymous donor.  We remain deeply grateful for the work — and play — their gift makes possible.

The Lord Denney's Players would also like to extend thanks to Associate Professor Scott DeWitt and his English 4569 class; Tracee Mohler; Wayne Lovely; Breanne LeJeune; Professors Brad Steinmetz, Rebecca Turk and Jennifer Schlueter; the Ohio State University College of Medicine; Professors Helen Ostovich and Steven Urkowitz; Bethany Christiansen; Manny Jacquez;  and Brett Greatley-Hirsch. We also want to express our gratitude to Douglas Dangler and his team of miracle workers at Ohio State's ASCTech.

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The Tempest
February 9-18, 2017
Van Fleet Theatre, Columbus Performing Arts Center


An enchanted island. A mysterious duke. Magic spirits and wedding nymphs and probably the strangest man/monster this side of Bermuda.

Staged in February 2017, Lord Denney’s Players returned with one of Shakespeare’s last plays — The Tempest — and one of the most imaginative romances in English drama. By turns tender, funny and tense, The Tempest used a variety of artistic mediums, from masquing to music, to explore the nature of wonder, skepticism and forgiveness in a Machiavellian world.


Cast

Prospero—Antony Shuttleworth, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Ariel—Mary Grace Thibault, Senior majoring in Atmospheric Science and Anthropology
Caliban—Tony Harper, Senior majoring in English
Miranda—Hannah Woods, Freshman majoring in English
Ferdinand—Joseph Glandorf, Freshman, Undeclared
Stephano—Cat McAlpine, Alumna, B.A. English & Linguistics, 2014
Trinculo—Taylor Davis, Alumna, B.A. Theatre, 2015
Alonso—Joanna Bruskin, Senior, Undeclared
Gonzalo—Matthew Wiese, Junior majoring in Philosophy and Computer Science
Antonio—Levi Prudhomme, Sophomore majoring in Comparative Studies
Sebastian—Isaiah Johnson, Sophomore majoring in Theatre and Political Science
Adrian—Joey Hoffmann, Sophomore majoring in English
Bosun/Juno—Mackenzie Peterson, Sophomore majoring in Arts Management and Theatre
Ship Master/Ceres—Casey Radner, Junior majoring in Marketing and Hospitality Management
Iris—Kallen Alsdorf, Freshman majoring in English
Ensemble—Geet Tripathi, Junior majoring in Electrical Engineering
Ensemble—Jaden Chen, Sophomore majoring in Arts Management
Ensemble—Natalie Dalea, Junior majoring in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies


Crew

Director—Manuel Jacquez, PhD Candidate, Department of English
Assistant Director—Emory Noakes, OSU Alumnus B.A. English, 2015
Stage Manager—Hannah Grace, Senior Majoring in Chinese & International Studies
Assistant Stage Manager—Tamara Smathers, Junior majoring in Theater
Dramaturg—Dan Knapper, PhD Candidate, Department of English
Dramaturg—Victoria Munoz, PhD, 2016, Department of English
Music Director—Clara Davison, Sophomore majoring in English
Choreographer—Kimberly M. Wilczak, MFA Alumna, Dance
Sound Designer—Ciru Wainaina, Senior majoring in English
Set Designer—Miranda Johnson, Staff, Department of Philosophy
Prop Master—Madeline Price, PhD Student, Department of English
Front of House Manager—Ben Moran, PhD Student, Department of English
Promotions Manager—Cat McAlpine, Alumna, B.A. English & Linguistics, 2014
Promotional Artist—Bethany Christiansen, PhD Candidate, Department of English
Production Photographer—Oliver Urdaneta, Junior majoring Art & Technology
Creative Director—Sarah Neville, Assistant Professor, Department of English

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The Annunciation and The Second Shepherds' Play
November 18-20, 2015
Denney Hall 311


Lord Denney’s Players’ second production, The Annunciation and The Second Shepherds' Play of The Wakefield Cycle, premiered on November 18, 2015, and ran for three nights. The play featured the acting talents of Ohio State undergraduates, graduate students, staff, faculty and alumni. The production was directed by English Professor Richard Green.

Four cycles of biblical plays (from the Creation to Doomsday) survive from late medieval England, of which the one from the small Yorkshire town of Wakefield is arguably the best; it is particularly distinguished by the work of an anonymous playwright, often called the Wakefield Master, who was responsible for six of its thirty plays, including two Nativity Plays. The second of these, The Second Shepherds’ Play, is often said to be the finest example of English medieval theater, combining broad farce with a tender devotional scene at the end. Also from the cycle, the Annunciation tells the story of the Incarnation and, like The Second Shepherds’ Play, combines tender devotion and farce.


Cast | Annunciation

God—Richard Green
Gabriel—Mike Bierschenk
Mary—Aliyah Cohen
Joseph—Micah Rickerson

Cast | The Second Shepherds’ Play

Coll — Ryan Heitkamp
Garcio — Henry Griffy
Gib —Tony Harper
Daw — Patrick Esguerra
Mak — Antony Shuttleworth
Gill — Annie McAlpine
Gabriel — Mike Bierschenk
Mary — Aliyah Cohen


Crew

Director—Richard Green
Assistant Director—Micah Rickerson
Costumes—Gramaprilly @ Etsy
Light Design—Kabrina Thompson and Kari Fletcher

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The Tragedy of Richard II
April 23-24, 2015
Columbus Performing Arts Center


Lord Denney’s Players’ first production, William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Richard II, premiered on April 17, 2015, and ran for four nights. The play featured the acting talents of Ohio State undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty, and was crewed by undergraduates in an upper-level Shakespeare class taught by Assistant Professor Sarah Neville, who also directed the production.


"The opportunity to be involved in this production has gone beyond my personal expectations. Interaction with the text in a live environment creates a critical engagement that serves as a Shakespearean green world of sorts when juxtaposed with the traditional classroom environment."
—Justin Bauer (BA '15)


LDP’s production of Richard II featured two differently performed cuts of the play. The first weekend’s shows were based off of the original quarto editions of the play, which do not include what is commonly referred to as the “deposition scene,” an extended scene at the beginning of Act Four where Richard publicly abdicates his throne to his cousin Bolingbroke. The scene is first printed in the collected works of Shakespeare in 1623 and its exclusion from earlier editions of Richard II, has prompted many Shakespeare scholars to speculate about the censorship of this scene in print and its original performance on the stage.  

Lord Denney's Players was the first company, as far as we know, to stage both versions of Richard IIin the same production, experimenting with the implications of including, or excluding, the remarkable deposition scene.


Cast

Fitzwater—Aaron Banks
Willoughby—Justin Bauer
Aumerle—Aliyah Cohen
Bagot—Taylor Davis
Queen Isobel—Corey Debelak
Duchess of York—Torsa Ghosal
Lord Marshal—Matt Gmetro
John of Gaunt—Richard Firth Green
Gardener—Hannibal Hamlin
Northumberland—Ryan Heitkamp
Gardener's Assistant—Manny Jacquez
York's Servingman—Brian Javor
Bishop of Carlisle—Dan Knapper
Bolingbroke—Annie McAlpine
Duchess of Gloucester—Sarah Neville
Bushy—Amy (Emory) Noakes
Green/Keeper—Nicholas Poe
Mowbray/Exton—Micah Rickerson
King Richard II—Ellie Rogers
Groom/Welsh Captain—Hannah Russ
Duke of York—Antony Shuttleworth


Crew

Assistant Dramaturge—Aaron Banks
Sound Technician/ASM—Justin Bauer
Promotions Coordinator—Marie Bordley
Production Artist—Bethany Christiansen
Assistant Stage Manager—Aliyah Cohen
Front of House/Business Staff—Meghan Dannemiller
Set Designer—Zachary Dean
Front of House/Business Staff—Jessica Duncan
Fight Coordinator—Sarah Dunlap
Promotions Coordinator—Patrick Esguerra
Assistant Stage Manager—Matt Gmetro
Promotions Coordinator—Kristen Gramajo
Promotions Advisor—Hannibal Hamlin
Costume Designer—Kaitlyn Hartman
Assistant Dramaturge—Ryan Heitkamp
Assistant Director—Manny Jacquez
Dramaturge—Erin Kelly
Lighting Technician—Brittany Koza
Costume Designer—Alexandra Lendon
Props Manager—Elizabeth Lyle
Director—Sarah Neville
Costume Designer—Amy (Emory) Noakes
Set Designer—Nicholas Poe
Costume Coordinator—Rebekah Priebe
Stage Manager—Micah Rickerson
Promotions Coordinator—Emma Royce
Music Director—Eddie Singleton


Press

"Students Put Their Own Spin on 'Richard II'"The Lantern


"This production has given me the unique opportunity to jump out from behind the pages of Richard II and participate in the action itself. It has forced me far outside my comfort zone. I am so grateful to all the friends I have made this semester and to the people who have made this experience possible. I never dreamed I'd be part of such an amazing experiment."
—Aliyah Cohen (BA'17)

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SONNET CONTEST

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Every year, LDP, the Department of English and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies host the Lord Denney’s Players Sonnet Contest. Submissions of individual Shakespearean sonnets are welcome from Ohio State undergraduate students from all colleges and majors. Entries are received through a submission form that is open during the spring semester, and winners are notified by April 23 (Shakespeare’s birthday). All submissions are published in a chapbook that is distributed during the Department of English's spring awards event. 

Awards

First prize: $100
Second Prize: $50
Honorable Mentions: $25

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  • First Prize: "Gray Noise" by Logan Finley, evolution, ecology and organismal biology major
  • Second Prize: "Sonnet for Mercenaries" by Judah Claytom, College Credit Plus student
  • Honorable Mention: "Sumerian Sonnet" by Heather Radcliffe, linguistics and sociology major
  • Honorable Mention: "Revival" by Hannah Zoldesy, political science major
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  • First Prize: "Despite the Stars” by George Thomas, English major
  • Second Prize: “Bloom” by Joelle Odoguardi, theatre major
  • Third Prize: “Breakups” by Mary Clare Van Hulle, English major
  • Honorable Mention: "Cosmic Elegy for the Damned" by Katherine Abram, English major
  • Honorable Mention: "If in the light of misremembered days" by Landon Porter, English major
  • Honorable Mention: "Walking to the Grocery Store, Earbuds In" by Emily Kattner, English and psychology major