In Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, two couples deal with love and all its complications: confusion, jealousy, and passion. Further hindering the couples on their way to happily-ever-after are a lively band of characters and challenging events, including a band of actors, mischievous fairies, and a botched love potion. This adaptation by Josh Hitchens (he/him) explores gender and pronoun use.
Cast (in alphabetical order)
Quinton J. Alexander (he/they) as Demetrius (he/him) and Flute (they/them)
Wyatt Flynn (they/them) as Bottom (he/him) and Peaseblossom (they/them)
CJ Higgins (they/them) as Puck (they/them) and Philostrate (xe/xem)
Willow McGlone (they/them) as Helena (they/she) and Starveling (he/him)
Stephanie Stoner (she/they) as Hippolyta (she/her) and Titania (love)
Quanece Thompson (she/her) as Lysander (she/her) and Snout (he/him)
Twoey Truong (she/her) as Hermia (she/her) and Snug (he/him)
Ryan Walter (he/him) as Theseus (he/him) and Oberon (love)
Geremy Webne-Behrman (he/they) as Egeus (he/him) and Quince (he/they)
Musical Director and Gender Consultant: CJ Higgins
Additional Music: Wyatt Flynn
Fairy Cape Designer: Jacob Glickman (he/him)
A note on pronouns from CJ Higgins
In this show, as well as in life, you may hear different pronouns used to refer to people besides “she” and “he”. Here’s some helpful information you may want to know going into Midsummer, that’s also helpful to know outside of the play!
Pronouns are words that can be used as a shorter replacement for a noun phrase. Are you thinking “I don’t use pronouns”? You just did, because “I” is a pronoun that substitutes for your name. When it comes to referring to someone in the third person, it’s important to learn and use the pronoun that person wants to be used for them.
- “I was talking to CJ Higgins, and they told me that their pronouns are ‘they/them,’ so I will use those pronouns for them.”
- “The director Josh Hitchens uses he/him pronouns, so if you’re referring to him and his work, that’s how he would like to be referred to.”
The list of characters indicates what pronouns to use when referring to that character in the third person. For instance, you’ll see on the list that Hermia uses “she/her” pronouns, so that means if a character is talking about Hermia in the third person, they would say “She is in love.” Outside of the show, you may see people include their pronouns in their email signature, on a pin, or all other types of places their name is listed.
If someone does not know another person’s pronouns (usually because they haven’t been properly introduced), they will use “they/them” pronouns for that person until they learn that person’s correct pronouns. That helps avoid making an incorrect assumption about another person’s gender just by looking at them.
- For instance, if Oberon has not learned Demetrius’s pronouns yet, Oberon would say “anoint their eyes”, but if the two had met Oberon would say “anoint his eyes”, because Demetrius uses “he/him” pronouns.
Some people use more than one set of pronouns. For example, Helena uses “they/she” pronouns. That means that someone talking about Helena could use “they/them” or “she/her” interchangeably. For example, “They are sad,” and “That is why she is crying.”
Some people use “neopronouns,” or pronouns that are not officially recognized in the English language by academic sources.
- For example, Philostrate uses “xe/xem” pronouns, as in “Xe is nervous, I feel sorry for xem.”
- Another example you’ll hear a lot is that Oberon and Titania both use the word “love” as a pronoun (“Love is angry”). It’s important to respect someone’s pronouns even if those pronouns have not been officially recognized in your language or you have not heard of them before.
Most importantly: it’s okay if you don’t understand this subject right away! Use this play as a jumping-off point to hear examples of all the different ways pronouns can be used to best reflect the full expanse of gender. There are also plenty of resources, both online and offline, that you can use to learn and practice even more.
As our collective knowledge about gender continues to grow, it’s important to keep an open mind and heart to concepts that you might not entirely understand. I ask that you make the choice to accept and love those in the LGBTQIA+ community regardless of your understanding of our experience.
– CJ Higgins, actor/musician/gender consultant