Meet the Cast

Meet the Cast of Shakespeare in the Grove 2016's The Servant of Two Masters!

Jeremy Funke* (Florindo Aretusi) - ARTFARM: King Lear (Cornwall). Elm Shakespeare Company: Twelfth Night, Pericles, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Winter's Tale, The Lover, The Imaginary Invalid, Holiday, Hamlet, 
The Matchmaker, As You Like It, and Three Musketeers. Bijou Theatre: Dial M For Murder (Tony Wendice), Hamlet/R&G Are Dead (Hamlet; director, R&G). Valley Shakespeare Festival: Comedy of Errors (Antipholi Twins); VSF SitB Series: Tartuffe and 
Titus Andronicus (title roles). Putney Players of Stratford: Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio), Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio), Twelfth Night (Malvolio). Westport Community Theatre: Frost/Nixon (David Frost), Arcadia (Septimus Hodge). He is Resident Teaching Artist and IT Coordinator for ESC, where he has been an instructor and performer in their educational programs since 2007. When not onstage or bringing Shakespeare to the next generation of Connecticut actors, Jeremyis a private tutor in New Haven and Fairfield counties. He can next be seen in Edgerton Park in August and September with Elm Shakespeare's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He holds an A.B. in English from Harvard University.

Brian K. Jennings* (Truffaldino) is happy to be back in the Grove where he has previously played Benedick, Malvolio, Macbeth, Oberon, and Jacques with Artfarm.  As a member of Hartbeat Ensemble, he directed the production of Jimmy and Lorraine, named one of the “10 Best Plays” of 2015 by the Hartford Courant. He also developed the role of Det. Nick Carter in Flipside and has directed multiple productions of Ebeneeza: A Hartford Holiday Carol. As a voicing actor and playwright for the National Theater of the Deaf, he performed on the national tours of Under Milk Wood, An Italian Straw Hat and Curiouserand Curiouser. His adaptation, RAVE: The Bacchae of Euripides - Remixed was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He teaches Acting at the Hartt School and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. He has participated in teaching artist exchanges with Cape Verde and South Africa. He was named Teacher of the Year by the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools and has received the National Teaching Artist Fellowship, and the Gordon C. Ramsay Award for Sustained Creative Achievement at the University of Hartford. He holds degrees from Princeton University and the National Theater Conservatory. He lives in Bolton, CT with his wife, Eileen, and their border collie, Hannah.

Ryan Howland (Dottore Lombardi) is thrilled to be making his ARTFARM debut! A Northeast Kingdom of Vermont native, Ryan received his B.A. in Theatre from the University of Vermont and his M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College. As an educator Ryan has worked with students in communities in Vermont, Massachusetts, and most recently in Hartford, CT where he teaches Drama at Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts. Acting roles include Giant (The Quest of Queen Thomas), Daddy (The Boy Who Loved Monsters and the Girl Who Loved Peas), Clown 1 (The 39 Steps), Male Greek Chorus (How I Learned to Drive), Jeff ([title of show]), IQ (Hairspray), and Danny in the Kingdom County Productions film Shout it Out. Directing credits with both students and adult performers include Dog Sees God, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Adventures of a Comic Book Artist, Festival Dionysia, Clit Notes, and The Toys Take Over Christmas. Ryan is a member of the American Alliance for Theatre Education and a board member of the Connecticut Drama Association. He would like to thank his family, friends, and incredible students for their continued support.

Alex Kydd (Silvio) is excited to be making his ARTFARM debut! A graduate of The William Esper Studio in New York City, Alex is thrilled to be able to continue developing his body of work whilst also returning to his home state of Connecticut. While attending school, Alex performed as Alceste (The Misanthrope), Benjamin (The Graduate), Charles The Dauphin (The Lark), Antonio (The Tempest) and Valere (Tartuffe). Since graduating in 2013, favorite roles include Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), Saturninus (Titus Andronicus) and The Vicomte De Valmont (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) all with Flock Theatre of New London, CT.  Most recently he was seen in The Chester Meeting House Player's production of August: Osage County where he played Little Charles. Alex also narrators audio books with Tantor Media, located in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. 

Ben McLaughlin (1st Zanni) is excited to make his Artfarm debut with this production. It was director Dic Wheeler who first introduced Commedia dell'Arte him, and Ben immediately fell in love with the style. Originally from Wallingford, Connecicut, Ben received a BFA in Acting from Central Connecticut State University. Some of his favorite roles from his time there are Trigorin (The Seagull), Touchstone (As You Like It), and Keith (Betty's Summer Vacation). Ben is a founding member of the One-Eyed Jacks Theatre Company, with whom Ben has performed as Reverend Duncan (Leading Ladies), Louis (Suicide in B Flat), and as Brighella in the original Commedia dell'Arte play Commedia dell'POW!! Many thanks to the director, cast and crew for such a wonderful experience.Ben McLaughlin can be seen this Oscar season in the acclaimed historical drama "The Strawberries of Lancastershire Hill Farm RoadTown", starring Daniel Day Lewis as Arch Duke Reginald MacGuffin opposite Robert Downey Jr. as the Duchess of Whimsicott, in which Ben plays a strawberry with a seedy past.

Kaia Monroe* (Pantalone) is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Theatre Department at SCSU. Regional credits include Missouri Rep, Weston Playhouse, Hope Repertory Theatre, the Fulton, Geva, American Stage Festival, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Theatre 4, and the Kennedy Center. She’s been dance captain of the national tours of Swingtime Canteen and Joseph.  Recent directing credits include Goodspeed New Works and Capital Shakespeare. This summer she was seen in the new musical Blessing with the Yale Music Theatre Initiative. Next up she’ll be choreographing Midsummer Nights Dream for Elm Shakespeare, directed by Tina Packer. MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and post-graduate study at Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre. Thanks for taking care of the kids, Parrish and Opa!

Kirsten Mossberg (Second Zanni) excitedly makes her debut with Artfarm this year. Hailing from Windsor, CT, Kirsten just graduated from the Loomis Chaffee School where she took part in many productions at the NEO theatre. Some of her recent roles at Loomis include Titania (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Aunt Eller (Oklahoma), Roxane (Cyrano), and Inga (Young Frankenstein). She had also studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting during the summer. While at Adler she originated the role of Patti in The Subterraneans which was selected for 2016 Best American Plays. Kirsten also recently appeared in the Hartford Stage's Write On, playing various roles. She plans to attend the University of Michigan next year, studying Acting and Music Composition. She would like to thank her cast and crew for helping to create this wonderful show.

Margaret Murphy (Clarice) is thrilled to be making her ArtFarm debut! Margaret is a Washington, D.C. native currently earning her BFA in Actor Training at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Regional: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Philotis), Twelfth Night (Maria),The Changeling (Isabella), Othello (Bianca) with 4615 Theater Company. The Hartt School: Much Ado About Nothing (Hero), The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Madame Mantalini/Mrs. Grudden), The Shadow Box (Beverly), The Runner Stumbles (Mrs. Shandig). This past spring Margaret traveled across the pond to study at Drama Studio London where she participated in an eight week Shakespeare intensive. Margaret sends love and gratitude to M&D and to her Hartt family for their support.

Elizabeth Swan (Brighella) is happy to be back at ARTFARM after playing Quince in last year's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Recent credits include Marge in Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Majestic Theater), Jennifer in I'll Be Home For Christmas (Ivoryton Playhouse) and Katherine in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Winnipesaukee Playhouse). Elizabeth is also a member of the commedia del'arte troupe Commedia Mania. Commedia Mania characters she has played are Isabella, Smeraldina, La Signora, and Pierrette. She is also currently filming Nightingale, a short musical film. B.A. in Theater from Eastern Connecticut State University. For more information please see Twitter: eswan00.

Marcella Trowbridge (Beatrice) is a dancer, actress, writer, director, choreographer, theater/movement educator and the co-founder and Artistic Director of ARTFARM. Marcella has written, directed and choreographed many original works, including SemPa Bridge: Tales from the Mountains of Tibet; The False Door: the Stages of Dealing with Death; rEvolution: War, World Change and Non-Violent Dissent; Color Wheel: Race and the Economic Divide; In The Throes; An End To Violets: Youth and Violence; and Phoenix Rising: the Rise from Adversity to Hope, in addition to directing and choreographing classical and contemporary pieces ranging from the Indian epic The Mahabharata to Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Twelfth Night and Macbeth to Langston Hughes’ Emperor of Haiti and Anna Deveare Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles. She has extensive performing credits on both U.S. coasts. Favorite roles include, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Adriana in A Comedy of Errors, Isabella in Measure for Measure, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Paulina in A Winter’s Tale, as well as Son in Safari Dream (NYC- world premiere), Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Carnelle in The Miss Firecracker Contest, Sybil in The Cover Of Life (Key West- world premiere), Shelby in  Steel Magnolias and Blue in Beirut. Marcella was a founding member of NY’s Greenwood Theater Company, was educated at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, was a member of the Los Angeles’ Twelfth Night Repertory Company, was a featured player for several seasons at Key West’s Red Barn Theater, has collaborated with Bread and Puppet Theater and spent nearly a decade in artistic leadership at Oddfellows Playhouse in Central CT. In 2015, Ms. Trowbridge did extended theater work in Sri Lanka teaching in war torn areas, and co-developing
and performing in When Caged Birds Sing, a generative piece about women, war, violence and oppression. Marcella does professional development and consultancy for artists and educators in the public, private and higher education sectors. Marcella has taught for the Education Departments of Long Wharf Theatre and Hartford Stage Company and has been a Master Teaching Artist for the State of Connecticut Office of the Arts since the mid 1990’s. She is the founding dancer in ARTFARM’s women’s company, Terpsichore. She is also known for her trademark choreography and her work with inner-city youth.

Joni Weisfield (Smeraldina) received her BFA in Acting from The University of Connecticut.  While there she studied with world-renowned Suzuki master, Eric Hill and dialect expert Dr. David Alan Stern.  After graduation, Joni performed in New York City at La Mama E.T.C., The Kraine Theatre, The Red Room, The 42nd Street Theatre, and countless other venues.  Regionally, Joni performed in Boston, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, and in National and Local tours.  She is thrilled to be performing with ARTFARM again!  Other credits with the company include:  Olivia in TWELFTH NIGHT, Phoebe in AS YOU LIKE IT, Dogberry in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and The Fool in KING LEAR.  As a Director, Joni’s work includes THE TAMING OF THE SHREW for ARTfarm, BREAKFAST FOR DINNER for the New York Fringe Festival, and an original adaptation of MEDEA performed at The 42nd Street Theatre in New York.  Currently, Joni is on the adjunct faculty at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford where she teaches Movement and directs plays.  Joni is also on the core faculty in Theatre at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

*Actors' Equity Association