In August, three Harford County actors will travel to Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest arts festival. Logan Davidson, Jenna Rossman and Sabrina Thornton will appear in "A Fool's Paradise: 30 Shakespeare Scenes in 60 Minutes."
Last year, the Festival hosted 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues.
Before they perform in Scotland, however, the three – plus actor Lisa Hodsoll – will do preview performances at 8 p.m. June 2-5 at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 S. Calvert St. in Baltimore.
Lined up as guest stars for these performances are local luminaries such as Gavin Witt, associate director and Dramaturg at Center Stage; Lesley Malin, managing director from Chesapeake Shakespeare Company; and Chris Cotterman, associate artistic director of Baltimore Shakespeare Factory. Tickets are $15 and proceeds will go toward trip expenses. Visit www.afoolsparadiseshow.com or www.artful.ly/store/events/9171.
"30 Shakespeare scenes. 60 minutes. Can it be done? Of course it can," Jenna Rossman, who graduated from Fallston High School in 2009, said. "With the Quad Squad (that's the team name of our ensemble) plus two amazing Quad Squad Lady Captains: Our director/producer/adapter Sarah Curnoles and Assistant Producer/Stage Manager Arrenvy Bilinski…anything is possible. This is the kind of play that challenges the agility and athleticism of everyone involved. Everyone has got to be on their game with the focus and attention of a ninja in the night. It's a whirlwind of a show."
To make things even more challenging, audience members choose a scene from a list of 45, including Taming of the Shrew: Petruchio Woos Kate; "To be or not to be" from Hamlet; "Out, damn spot" from Macbeth and The Balcony Scene from Romeo and Juliet, as well as scenes from lesser-known plays like Titus Andronicus and Henry IV. Some scenes, like "Et tu, Brute" from Julius Caesar, are spoofed. Costumes are unisex. Props – crowns, knives, letters – are minimal.
"It's like mental gymnastics," Sabrina Thornton, who lives in Abingdon with her husband, John, and daughter, Fair, 3, said. "You never know what's coming next. You have to have all these lines in your head… you hear the name of the play and you think, 'What's my costume? What are my props? What's my first line?'
"We sit in chairs on the stage and run forward to perform a scene. You can end one scene and go to sit back in your chair and have to switch gears immediately [when another scene is called]," she added.
What happens if the Quad Squad doesn't get all 30 scenes done in 60 minutes?
"One of us is getting a pie in the face," Logan Davidson, Fallston High Class of 2007, said.
Some audience members will have bingo cards marked with scene numbers instead of letters. When someone gets "Bingo!" that person can join the cast in a future scene.
"I think it's just amazing that Logan and I are in a show together again after…oh, wow…how long has it been? Almost 10 years," Rossman said. "Logan was the Scarecrow to my Wicked Witch in 'The Wizard of Oz' in the 10th grade at Fallston. That forever changed my life and made me want to pursue an acting career."
The young thespian, daughter of Katie and Pul Rossman of Kingsville, graduated summa cum laude from Towson University with a degree in acting in 2013. She also studied improv at both The Second City and iO Improv Theater in Chicago. She has played Phebe in Center Stage's all-female production of "As You Like It," Ellie in "The Whale" at Rep Stage and Beatrice in "Much Ado About Nothing" at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory. Soon, she will appear as Columbia in Iron Crow Theatre's production of Richard O'Brien's "The Rocky Horror Show."
Davidson earned a bachelor of arts in theatre, film and media studies from St. Mary's College of Maryland and studied at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Employed as an office coordinator for Capstone On-Campus Management at Towson University, Davidson has found time to pursue his passion for the Bard by playing roles like Viola/Sebastian in "Twelfth Night" for Cohesion Theatre Company, Ann Page in "Merry Wives of Windsor" with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Hermia in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and MacDuff in "Macbeth" with BOOM Theatre. His parents Jackie and Rick Davidson live in Bel Air.
Born in Georgia, Thornton graduated with honors from the Florida State University School of Theatre with a concentration in acting and a minor in creative writing. She plans to take time off from her work as deputy director of institutional giving at Center Stage and teaching artist for Everyman Theatre and make the trip to Scotland a family outing. Little Fair got her first passport, and her grandmother, Cynthia Sikes of Joppa, will join the Thorntons in the big adventure.
Last year, Davidson and Thornton were in the cast when the play was performed at the Charm City Fringe Festival under the title "That Way Madness Lies." It won the Audience Favorite Award. Now refined and revised, the play is expected to please new audiences from Aug. 6-12 in the land of the thistle and kilt.