RemarkaBULL Podversations are informal, livestreamed conversations that investigate approaches to essential passages from the Shakespearean and Jacobean canon―and beyond.

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"QUEEN MAB" WITH MICHAEL URIE

LIVESTREAMED | Monday, April 13, 2020

On Monday, April 13 the inimitable MICHAEL URIE joined host NATHAN WINKELSTEIN, Red Bull’s Associate Producer, for a conversation focused on Mercutio’s “Queen Mab” speech from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, a truly remarkable speech that has challenged every actor lucky enough to take it on. Michael was lucky enough in 2005 at the Folger Theater. He told about his approach to ‘the fairies’ midwife’ and gave us a taste of his performance. They took questions from lucky registrants, too.

 
EXCERPT FROM ROMEO & JULIET | Act 1 : Scene 4

ROMEO
I dream'd a dream to-night.

MERCUTIO
And so did I.

 

ROMEO
Well, what was yours?

 

MERCUTIO
That dreamers often lie.

 

ROMEO
In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.

MERCUTIO:
O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you. 
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes 
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone 
On the fore-finger of an alderman, 
Drawn with a team of little atomies 
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep; 
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners’ legs, 
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers, 
The traces of the smallest spider’s web, 
The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams, 
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film, 
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat, 
Not so big as a round little worm 
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid; 
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut 
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub, 
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers. 
And in this state she gallops night by night 
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love; 
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight, 
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees, 
O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream, 
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, 
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are: 
Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose, 
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit; 
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail 
Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep, 
Then dreams, he of another benefice: 
Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck, 
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, 
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades, 
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon 
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two 
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab 
That plats the manes of horses in the night, 
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs, 
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes: 
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs, 
That presses them and learns them first to bear, 
Making them women of good carriage.

This is she—

ROMEO

Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.

 

MERCUTIO
True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy

ABOUT THE ARTISTS
MICHAEL URIE recently appeared on Broadway in Bess Wohl’s Grand Horizons at 2nd Stage and produced Drew Droege’s Happy Birthday Doug at Soho Playhouse. NYC Theater: Tony Kushner’s A Bright Room Called Day, Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song, Buyer & Cellar, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, High Button Shoes, Red Bull Theater's The Government InspectorHomos, or Everyone in America, Shows For Days, Angels in America, The Temperamentals, directed Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, co-produces Pride Plays. Regional: The Shakespeare Theater, The Old Globe, Seattle Rep, The Folger, South Coast Rep, Barrington Stage, and Center Theater Group. Film: Lavender, He’s Way More Famous Than You (director), Beverly Hills Chihuahua, The Decoy Bride, Such Good People, Abducted, The Hyperglot (director). TV: Modern Family, The Good Fight, Younger, The Good Wife, Hot in Cleveland, Partners, Workaholics, Almost Family and Ugly Betty. Training: Juilliard. 
NATHAN WINKELSTEIN has been with Red Bull Theater for three years, serving as Producing Director of The Revelation Reading Series, Education Director of Shakespeare in Schools and the Masterclass offerings. He also serves as a literary and casting associate for Red Bull. Nathan is also the NY Casting Associate for American Shakespeare Center. He has acted or directed for numerous companies around the country and in the UK, including Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Shakespeare Theater Company, W.H.A.T., LCT, The Folger, The Tobacco Factory, American Shakespeare Center and others. Nathan has taught for Red Bull, STC, LCT, WHAT, TGS and Shakespeare Forum; he also provides private acting coaching in NYC. Nathan received his BA in Theater from the University at Buffalo and his MFA in Classical Acting from the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK. Nathan is a proud member of Actors Equity.

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