Digital Program

A Midsummer
Night's Dream

William Shakespeare's

Director's Note

Artwork by Gordon Audent

Directing this play has been a nostalgic labor of love. I first appeared in Midsummer as an awkward, thirteen year old, taller than the average adolescent, attempting to find the grace to play a fairy. Years later, I took the stage as Helena, and played out exactly what I was going through in my early twenties, fighting self doubt and putting way too much stock in the approval of others. Now, I have the privilege of directing an incredible cast of actors, who bring to life every theme of the play in a way that is relatable, and hilarious. This is one of the many reasons Midsummer “never gets old.” Every year that goes by lends new life experience to the play’s interpretation, and one can’t help but be in awe of Shakespeare’s wise understanding of the human condition. The play is an ode to the chaos of life, attributing both its flaws and graces, in the end, to fairy magic. The Bard’s interpretation of magic speaks to the ineffable experiences of coincidence, love, and even fate. While Demetrius learns what it means to appreciate love, Hermia learns of loss, Lysander of his dark side, and Helena of her worth. Meanwhile, Bottom learns he is nothing without his friends, who he calls for once he awakens in the woods, and he learns a little humility, after donning a donkey's head. Titania and Oberon, ever imperfect rulers of the Fairy Kingdom, find peace, for now, reminding us to accept that life is ever-changing and unpredictable. No matter how neatly a story concludes, it is always, and only, for the time being. In the end, we must all aspire to be Puck, to enjoy the trip, to live wholeheartedly in the present moment, and to live in a state of childlike wonder, no matter our age. During character work, John Drea, our Puck, expressed that Puck didn’t possess a “rich inner life” simply because he lives completely in the present. And, isn’t that the richest life worth having? In the end, we are meant to laugh at our quandaries, right our wrongs, and accept the inexplicable. Let’s not fret too much about the trials and tribulations of our mortal struggle, but rather, embrace the freedom of knowing that in the end, we are all fairy dust and enjoy the magic in every moment. Thank you for sharing your magic with us. Enjoy the show!

In Gratitude,

Katrina Syrris 

Artistic Director & Founder

Goodly Creatures Theatre

Cast & Crew

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Jayde Al-Angary

Jayde Al-Angary

Helena

Jayde is elated to be back on stage for the first time since February 2020! A recent alum of Loyola University Chicago, Jayde made her Goodly Creatures debut last summer as Beatrice in their online production of Much Ado About Nothing! Jayde also appeared in her last in-person show as Joan in Loyola's production of Fun Home! They couldn't imagine a better group of people to re-explore live theatre with and would like to thank the team at Goodly Creatures for the opportunity to make people laugh again! She also would like to thank her friends, family, John, and Zaytun for keeping her sane during the last year. Enjoy the show!

Eunice Ayodele

Eunice Ayodele

Hippolyta, Titania, Fairy Song Composer & Vocalist

Mezzo-Soprano Eunice Ayodele received her M.M. in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University where she studied under Myra Merritt and her B.A. from Aurora University. With over a decade of experience in performance, she is at home in a range of styles, including opera, musical theatre, jazz, rock, R&B, and blues. In addition to performance, Eunice has been teaching voice and piano for several years now. Ms. Ayodele is an active soloist and has appeared previously in Goodly Creatures' productions of Ghastly Creatures (three episodes), Much Ado About Nothing as Balthasar and for which she composed and performed original music to Shakespeare's lyrics, Lit Ladies as Dido Elizabeth Belle. She has also appeared with the Toledo Opera Chorus. Some of her operatic roles include: Ino in Semele, Kathrine from L'ivrogne corrigé, Carmen from Carmen, and Dido from Dido and Aeneas. Her musical theatre roles include: Motormouth Mabel from Hairspray, Matron Mama Morton from Chicago, and The Witch from Into the Woods.

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Nathan Chesterfield

Theseus & Oberon

Nathan is excited to be playing Oberon/Theseus in Midsummer, his first show with Goodly Creatures Theatre. His last show was almost 5 years ago, when he played Jimmy in Almost, Maine at Elgin Community College, and he previously played Demetrius in a production of Midsummer he did back in high school. When he isn’t acting, Nathan can be found managing and making delicious coffee and sandwiches at the Blue Box Cafe in downtown Elgin. He would like to thank his friends, family, and co-workers, for helping encourage him to accept this amazing opportunity and always inspiring him to be his best. He dedicates this performance to his found family, Chris and Kathleen Mau, who both passed away earlier this year.

Steve Delaney

Steve Delaney

Bottom the Weaver

Steve Delaney is thrilled to perform in his first show with Goodly Creatures, and his second A Midsummer Night's Dream, having previously played Oberon with Shakespeare on Clark at the Centre.  Past performances also include The Government Inspector (Bobchinski), Seasonal Wraps (Jonathan Rapp), Our Town (Howie Newsome), Wait Until Dark (Mike Talman), and Of Mice and Men (Carlson). He has performed in numerous other plays, murder mysteries and playwright festivals. Mr. Delaney graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a BA in Theater. He enjoys writing and has completed two novels and several plays.

John Drea

John Drea

Puck

John Drea made his Goodly Creatures Theatre debut last summer in Much Ado About Nothing. Chicago credits include The Sound Inside (Goodman Theatre); Whose Body? (Lifeline Theatre); 34th Young Playwrights Festival (Pegasus Theatre), Free Space and White Elephant (Possibilities Theatre); Fresh Air (Victory Gardens Theater); Game of Tiaras (Surging Films & Theatrics); Words of Love (Kirk Players); Grandma Rosa (DavJasFran); Love Ben, Love Emma (Wayward Sisters Theatre). Off-off Broadway credits include Oneironaut (The Outer Loop). Television credits include Ashley Green and This Must Be the Place. He has been accepted into the next class of the School at Steppenwolf and is represented by Big Mouth Talent, Inc. @johndrea1998 

Justin Green

Justin Green

Demetrius

Justin is very excited to perform Demetrius in his favorite Shakespeare show! After taking the last few years to focus on his career, Justin - a Larkin Visual and Performing Arts Academy alumnus - is ready to get back on stage. Previously appearing in An Ideal Husband (Goodly Creatures), Urinetown (Larkin), and Into The Woods (Elgin Community College), Justin is excited to perform for all of you! He dedicates this show to his friends.

Midsummer Art by Gordon Audet

Jason Jakubaitis

Sound Engineer

Jason Jakubaitis is a Chicago-based theatre technician, working with numerous area venues and production companies, as well as freelancing productions across northeast Illinois. His skill sets are highly diversified, with services ranging from lighting, to audio and video, to staging structures and scenic elements. Jason is well versed in theatrical productions, corporate events, festivals, and dance concerts. He is currently studying Entertainment Technology as well as Electrical & Computer engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Erika Knutson

Erika Knutson

Philostrate, Technical Director & Costumer

Erika Knutson is a BA Theatre Arts Education major and English minor at Elmhurst University (EU). Her previous Goodly Creatures Theatre credits include: Goodly Creatures: A Review of Shakespeare’s Sonnets for Modern Times (Technical Director) and Nevermore (Technical Director). She had the pleasure to work along side Janice Pohl as assistant director for Camp Comedy this spring at EU. Before attending EU she attended Northern Illinois University where she worked on productions including; The Wolves (SM), Troilus and Cressida (ASM), Boy (AMS), and The Importance of Being Earnest (ASM). Other credits include; Bent (Assistant Stage Manager/Chicago Remount: Stage Manager) with Muse Theatre Collective and NIU SOTD collaboration. 

Devon Ortiz

Devon Ortiz

Snug the Joiner

Devon is excited to be back with Goodly Creatures this summer. He made his Goodly Creatures debut last year in a virtual production of Much Ado About Nothing as Verges. Other notable roles include Otis in Suite Surrender (Elgin Theatre Company), Fred in A Christmas Carol (Albright Community Theatre),  and Wally Webb/ Baseball Player in Our Town (Fox Country Players). He can't wait to be back on stage and bring smiles back to people's faces after a tough year we all had. 

Juan Sedonio

Juan Sedonio

Francis Flute the Bellows Mender

Juan Sedonio is a recent graduate from the BFA Acting Program at Northern Illinois University. He appeared in NIU's production of Our Town as Joe/Si Crowell, Middletown as Ground Control/Man, Bakkhai as Bakkhai Ensemble, and in Troilus & Cressida as Aeneas. Aside from the productions, he was also involved in the all-male a cappella group on campus, the NIU Huskie Hunks, and Penguin Players (Theatre Arts for young adults with special disabilities) as the Assistant Director. This is Juan's first appearance for Goodly Creatures Theatre Production, and he couldn't be more excited to be a part of it!

Faiz Siddique

Faiz Siddique

Egeus & Peter Quince the Carpenter

Faiz is an actor based in Chicago. This is his first production with Goodly Creatures, and he is beyond grateful to work with such a talented and brilliant group. Looking ahead, Faiz can be seen playing Dexter in Dragonfly Theatre company’s upcoming production of Hard Candy, as well as an Understudy as Matt Friedman in Oil Lamp Theatre's production of Talley's Folly. He is also excited to attend BADA’s Midsummer in Oxford program in the summer of 2022. 

Gavin Struempler

Gavin Struempler

Lysander

Gavin is an Alaskan born and raised, fourth-year BFA in acting candidate at Northern Illinois University. He was last seen on the stage as K in The Castle and Harry in William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life. Some of his other credits include Dew in Outer Loop Theater’s virtual production of OneIronaut, The Mechanic in Middletown, and Henry in Turn Back Now (Chicago).  He has performed with Convergence Theater Collective and is a founding member of NYC's movement theater group Babel. He is incredibly grateful to be back on the live stage and hopes you enjoy the show!

James Syrris

James Syrris

Snout the Tinker & Set Designer

James Syrris returns to the stage after a fifty-year hiatus since his last appearance as a solider in his high school's production of Coriolanus. In those past fifty years, he has since worked as a set builder for the Minnesota Opera House, "played chauffer" to a young actress named Katrina before she got her license, and building sets for Goodly Creatures Theatre and others. His favorite role of all time has been that of Dad. He sends love to his wife, son, his pup Cera, and of course, Katrina, for their love and support.

Katrina Syrris

Katrina Syrris

Producer & Director

Katrina feels immense gratitude to her cast, crew, friends, and family for making this show possible! Playwright and director, Katrina has written and produced original plays for Goodly Creatures including Ghosts of Christmas Past (Or, Dickens, Capra, and Seuss Walk Into A Bar), Nevermore, and Goodly Creatures: A Review of Shakespeare's Sonnets for Modern Times, as well as Goodly's virtual mini-series Ghastly Creatures (available on YouTube). Other directing credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, Rope, Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It. As an actress, Katrina has been nominated for Best Actress on Broadway World Chicago for her portrayal of Alice in The Drowning Girls with the Riverfront Playhouse. Other notable roles include Marya in The Government Inspector (Independent Players), Woman #3 in The Big Meal (Independent Players), Annie in Over the Tavern (Fox Valley Repertory), and Gabriella in Boeing Boeing (Riverfront Playhouse). @goodlycreaturestheatre  

Veronica Tripp

Veronica Tripp

Hermia

Veronica Tripp from Aurora IL has immense gratitude for being a part of Goodly Creature’s Zoom-theatre series Ghastly Creatures (four episodes) and Much Ado About Nothing (Ursula) and is thrilled to be back on stage; live and in-person! Pre-pandemic, she appeared in Bolingbrook’s Theatre on the Hill’s production of Night of the Living Dead (Helen Cooper/undead). She has had the honor of working with several community theatre companies in the Fox Valley area, including Batavia Fine Arts Center’s Shakespeare on Clark, The Fox Valley Theatre Guild, and The Riverfront Playhouse (both in Aurora). Thank you for supporting local theatre!

Special Thanks

Lark Syrris

Lucy Knutson

Kelsey Kemp

Bethany Mangum

Leah Unser

Gail Gaboda & The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission

Amanda Harris & The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission

Magan Ascher & Cantigny Park