A Midsummer Night's Dream - Characters

THE ATHENIAN COURT

HERMIA (female, 20’s): Featured showgirl and rising star at the Athens Hotel & Casino, thanks in part to her father Egeus’s “family” connections and his ties to Athens owner Theseus. Betrothed to Demetrius, but in love with Lysander; best friend to Helena. She is the classic beautiful daughter of privilege who is so used to people giving her things and admiring her that she doesn’t realize the world doesn’t work that way for everyone. It might have made her arrogant; instead she’s merely sheltered. She does not believe in sleeping her way to the top (since she doesn’t have to), and guards her virtue with care. Some dance experience is preferred, but someone who moves well is also fine.

HELENA (female, 20’s): One of the Athens’ team of seamstresses and dressers catering to the showgirls, Helena comes from a family that received protection from Egeus and grew up alongside Helena but always in her shadow, always doing work on her behalf. Friends with Lysander, in love with Demetrius. Helena is the “plain” girl who takes off her glasses, shakes out her hair, and gets a slow-motion glamour entrance in the movie as a result. She enjoys a free-spirited existence outside of work that would horrify Hermia, experimenting with all flavors of hedonism. Note: This actress should be comfortable portraying a wholeheartedly, joyfully kinky character.

DEMETRIUS (male, 20’s-30’s): A newly “made” man, Demetrius’ star is on the rise within the family, prompting Egeus to offer betrothal to Hermia. Popular and charismatic, Demetrius does not yet have the polish or easy confidence of the dons he aspires to be like; he is hot-tempered, a little crazy around the eyes, quick to take offense, quicker to fight, and willing to be brutal. He also likes the ladies, particularly Helena, who’s as adventurous in bed as he is; but has the classic Madonna-whore complex when it comes to Helena and Hermia.

LYSANDER (male, 20’s): One of the Athens poker dealers, who frequently works in Theseus’ VIP room. Friends with Helena and in love with Hermia, he has the overly romantic young man’s philosophy that love prevails despite obstacles like class distinctions or mobster rivals. His worldly prospects are few; he’s a good-hearted, dreamy slacker who would be all too happy to simply support Hermia’s ascent to stardom if for no other reason than that he hasn’t figured out what he’s doing with his own life yet.

“DUKE” THESEUS (male, 30’s or later): Famed high roller, champion poker player, mogul entrepreneur, adventurer, and owner of the luxurious and renowned Athens Hotel & Casino, with deep pockets and financial interests throughout all of Vegas. Even the local Families stay on his good side. Engaged to Hippolyta. Charming, dapper, seemingly born in a tuxedo, he just might be the Most Interesting Man in the World. Note: This actor will also appear in other scenes as various non-speaking Vegas “types” such as Rat Packer, tourist, etc.

HIPPOLYTA (female, 30’s or later): CEO of Amazon, she is a shrewd and sometimes ruthless businesswoman and a bold risk-taker who refuses to marry for its own sake, but accepts with equanimity losing her singlehood to Theseus in a high-stakes card game. She is outspoken and adventurous, matching Theseus in temperament and style. Note: This actor will also appear in other scenes as various non-speaking Vegas “types” such as Rat Packer, tourist, etc.

MR. EGEUS (male, 40’s or later): A local “businessman” whose status in the family business has remained decidedly mid-level; he’s thrown in his fortunes with Theseus in the hopes of advancing his own power. Father to Hermia, he wants to marry her off to Demetrius. Note: This actor will also appear in other scenes as various non-speaking Vegas “types” such as Rat Packer, tourist, etc.

THE FAERIE COURT

OBERON (male, 30’s-40’s): The widely-acknowledged “King of the Strip”, he is a crooner and a major star on a level with Sinatra at the height of his Rat Pack days. His role as headliner at The Woods Casino doesn’t begin to sum up his influence—he has fingers in every pie in Vegas. Velvet-voiced charmer, career alcoholic, unrepentant Casanova, and master manipulator, he sees absolutely nothing wrong with doing whatever necessary to arrange the world to his liking. His decades-long (or more?), tempestuous love affair with Titania is well known, as are their blithe disregard for fidelity and their legendary battles. One of his hobbies is taking promising young performers under his wing and nurturing their careers while using them to do his dirty work, as he has done with Puck. This role requires singing.

TITANIA (PRE-CAST): Once a celebrated burlesque star a la Sally Rand or Gypsy Rose Lee, billed in the day as “The Faerie Queen”, Titania quit her stage career in disgust when the death of vaudeville left male performers with options in TV and movies while the female dancers were forgotten. Determined, resourceful, something of a force of nature, she forged a new path for herself, taking over the Arcadia Lounge in The Woods Casino and using it as a front for her bordello. Her “fairies” cater to all tastes and provide her with all the information and cash she needs to remain the most powerful (if unofficially so) woman in town. She’s the queen of the nightlife, bold, extravagant, and feline in her changing affections. She seems to delight in finding ways to torment long-time paramour Oberon, and to enjoy the epic fights that result as much as she likes their blissful reunions afterward.

PUCK (male, 20’s-30’s): Puck’s invisibility stems from his ability to take on the personas of the cogs of the Vegas machinery—the people who are always there, whom no one notices: waiter, valet, janitor, dealer. He moonlights as an up-and-coming young singer under the stage name Robin Goodfellow, and works for everyone who might be useful to him, including Oberon and Theseus. Less concerned with stardom than with freedom, he revels in Vegas’s otherworldliness, in the holiday personalities, rash decisions, and illicit activities that make it what it is. He takes particular joy in pushing and prompting all of these things for his own amusement. This role requires singing.

PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, and MUSTARDSEED (female, any age): Titania’s favorites from among her train of “fairies”, they are shamelessly outrageous fixtures in the Vegas scene. Adopting the burlesque philosophy of “Ya gotta have a gimmick” at Titania’s direction, they each have a distinctive look and cater to particular tastes. Singing and/or dancing ability strongly preferred. Actresses must be comfortable wearing suggestive or revealing clothing.

THE RUDE MECHANICALS

NICK BOTTOM (male, 20’s-40’s): A prolific and committed Elvis impersonator who works all over town and fancies himself a star of the Vegas stage. Verbose, bossy, and in possession of less self-awareness even than acting talent, more than slightly enslaved to Little Elvis, he’s the sort who would happily agree to let a couple of tourists take photos with him in costume, and would then sign an autograph with his real name and wonder why they seemed annoyed. Plays Pyramus. Note that this role does not require a constant Elvis impersonation, but the actor must be able to both sing and speak recognizably as Elvis.

PETER QUINCE (male or female, any age): Another hard-working and very Vegas-specific performer (the specific archetype can vary based on the actor’s looks and abilities) who has found himself saddled with the responsibility of pulling together a last-minute stage spectacle to entertain the guests at Theseus’ and Hippolyta’s wedding. He is the actor who thinks it’d be a great idea to direct, starts out with a grand vision, and then helplessly and stressfully watches the production fall apart when he realizes he’s in way over his head. Plays Prologue. Some type of performance skill (singing, dancing, instrument, circus skills, impersonations, comedy) is preferred.

FRANCIS FLUTE (male, late 30’s or older): A stand-up comedian in the great old cigar-chomping Borscht Belt style. He is happily and firmly entrenched in the (semi-)respectable middle class of performers—does well enough to get by, might even be remembered down the line, but is never going to be a huge star. He’s fine with that as long as he gets to have his drinks, enjoy his stogies, and stay up all night playing cards with the boys. Actor should be willing to grow a beard, or at least some grizzle. Plays Thisbe. Experience or skill in stand-up comedy is not required, but is a big plus.

SNUG and TOM SNOUT (male or female, any age): These two come as a package deal; they are performing partners a la Siegfried and Roy, Penn and Teller, Donny and Marie, Steve and Eydie, etc. Snug is not very bright; Snout is the brains of their operation, such as it is. Snout is preferably male. Snug plays the Lion and Snout plays the Wall. Some type of performance skill (singing, dancing, instrument, circus skills, impersonations, comedy) is preferred.

ROBIN STARVELING (male or female, late teens or early 20’s): In this staging, Starveling is introduced as the boy over whom Oberon and Titania are fighting; he is a fresh-faced farm boy (or girl) right off the bus with dreams of a performing career. When he flees the fighting lovers and is taken in by the Mechanicals, they outfit him for his new career, and he too becomes an archetypal Vegas performer (Criss Angel, Blue Man, Cirque du Soleil clown?) Shy, wide-eyed, and eager to please, he is as overwhelmed by his Vegas debut as he is excited about it. Plays Moonlight. Some type of performance skill (singing, dancing, instrument, circus skills, impersonations, comedy) is preferred.