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The Folger Spotlight

A Few of Our Favorite Things

There’s lights on the bushes, garlands festooning the balcony, and poinsettias in the lobby—it’s Christmas at the Folger Theatre for certain! Complimenting the festive spirit, The Second Shepherds’ Play continues performances, charming holiday audiences with its humor and heart in a story about three shepherds and their misadventures on the eve of the Nativity. With all of this good cheer going around, Folger Spotlight decided to take a moment to check in with the cast, crew, and staff responsible for bringing this medieval mystery play to the stage, and find out what their favorite parts of the show have been so far.


Robert Eisenstein as the Crooked Thorn (center) and Louis E. Davis as Coll (right) with the company of The Second Shepherds’ Play, 2016. Photo: Brittany Diliberto.

Hitting the Right Notes

“It has been really great using some of my favorite 15th and early 16th century English pieces in the context of a play, and to see how well they work dramatically as well as musically.  But my favorite thing about The Second Shepherds’ Play is being the Crooked Thorn!”
—Robert Eisenstein, Musician and Folger Consort Co-Artistic Director

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The shepherds visit the manger in The Second Shepherds’ Play, 2016. Photo: Brittany Diliberto.

“I loved the festive music, and the way that the actors interacted with the musicians added a charming, playful humor. The musicians weren’t just part of the background; they were integrated with what was happening onstage.”
—Esther French, Communications Associate

“Near the end of the play, when the shepherds arrive in Bethlehem, everyone is singing Coventry Carol.  It makes me cry each time and really brings the spirit of Christmas home to me.”
—Beth Emelson, Associate Artistic Producer/Associate Director of Public Programs

The Spirit of the Season

“I love how unabashedly joyful it is. It’s always a treat as an actor to be able to live for a little bit in a world devoid of cynicism and sarcasm, and The Second Shepherds’ Play is one of those places.”
—Tonya Beckman, Cast Member (Gill)

“As an understudy, my favorite thing about The Second Shepherds’ Play has been witnessing the spirit and joy of this lovely story grow and blossom with each performance. The energy is infectious!”
—Kathryn Zoerb, Cast Member (Understudy)

Production Moments to Remember

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Emily Noël as the Angel, The Second Shepherds’ Play, 2016. Photo: Brittany Diliberto.

Working with this talented group of actors and musicians is my favorite thing about this production.  Of course, the Angel moment is pretty grand as well.”
—Louis E. Davis, Cast Member (Coll) 

“My favorite thing about The Second Shepherd’s Play is how it brings together creators that possess unique skills or qualities, and the way in which the storytelling has been crafted to then allow those skills and qualities to be shared gradually with the audience. It’s like a gentle unwrapping of gifts that happens throughout the play and feels great to be a part of.”
—Lilian Oben, Cast Member (Mary/Ensemble)

“The last 20  minutes of the show are so lovely!  And the puppet scenes made me laugh out loud. I was charmed to no end!”
—Amanda Duchemin, Box Office Group Sales Associate

“I really enjoyed adding the orange hair to Megan Graves’ puppet—it was fun to re-do them all from the last production. They look adorable.”
—Aaron Cromie, Puppet Designer

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Malinda Kathleen Reese and Lilian Oben with puppets, The Second Shepherds’ Play, 2016. Photo: Brittany Diliberto.

“I love watching [Robert] Eisenstein as he watches the shepherds presenting their gifts in the manager.  The humanity of that scene — with all the fragility and promise of a new born baby — speaks across time and faiths.   He’s a wonderful emotional mess and that captures it all for me.”
—Mary Hall Surface, Adaptor/Director

A New Old Tale for Christmas

“There were so many aspects that I loved, it’s hard to pick just one! But I think my favorite thing is that it was something I hadn’t seen before, yet filled me with the same warmth and joy as my favorite tried-and-true Christmas stories.”
—Emma Poltrack, Public Programs Administrative Assistant

“My favorite thing about The Second Shepherds’ Play is the fact that the audience leaves with a spring in their step and a smile on their face.  It feels so important to be making a show that allows people to connect with such an old story that still brings people joy.”
—Malinda Kathleen Reese, Cast Member (Ensemble/Sheep)

The Second Shepherds’ Play, 2016. Photo: Brittany Diliberto.

Come discover your own favorite moments of The Second Shepherds’ Playon stage November 27- December 21 at Folger Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit us online or call the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077.