The Players

"Good, my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time."

Hamlet Act II, Scene ii

Dylan Diehl

Mirth

Matter

Dylan Diehl performs, directs, and teaches in a variety of venues in New York and Los Angeles. With Kingsmen Shakespeare Company, she has designed and directed numerous educational programs teaching Shakespeare to students in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. A graduate of Columbia University, her studies include work with noted Shakespeare scholar and Public Theatre dramaturg James Shapiro. She is a Registered Rodenburg Teacher, selected and certified by Patsy Rodenburg, OBE to instruct and utilize her methods of voice, breath, and speech. As an actress, her credits range from Portia in The Merchant of Venice to a guest star on Law & Order: SVU. When artists were last allowed on stages, she directed Much Ado About Nothing for the Sierra Madre Shakespeare Festival.

How were you first introduced to the bard?

I played Mark Antony in my 6th grade's production of Julius Caesar. Friends, Romans, countrymen, 'twas indeed a tour de force.

Favorite Shakespeare Play

Much Ado About Nothing

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

"Time, force, and death/ Do to this body what extremes you can,/ But the strong base and building of my love/ Is as the center of the earth,/ Drawing all things to it." - (Troilus and Cressida, Act 4, Scene 3)

Melissa Ortiz

Melissa Ortiz

Mirth

Matter

Melissa Ortiz received her BFA in Theatre Performance from UNR and has written, directed, and acted all over Los Angeles in mediums ranging from traditional and immersive theatre, film, and in pandemic times, over Zoom. While she loves performing new works, the Bard has held a treasured place for her. She counts her time working alongside renowned linguist David Crystal, actor and author Ben Crystal, and scholar and editor of The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Eric Rasmussen on an Original Pronunciation production of Hamlet as well as performing at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival as career highlights. She wrote, directed, and produced The Rise and Fall of Dracula alongside her teammates at Cadame Co., which won an Encore Award at the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival.

How were you first introduced to the bard?

Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet...it terrified me.

Favorite Shakespeare Play

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage. (As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7)

Dane Oliver

Dane Oliver

Mirth

Matter

Dane Oliver is a California-grown actor with a specialized background in physical theatre and period combat. First trained in Shotokan Karate and competitive sabre fencing, he has since fought and choreographed for multiple film and theatre companies throughout LA County and across the state. As a classical actor his credits include many of Shakespeare's leading men, some of the Bard's women, and even some brief adventures with Thomas Middleton and Moliere. On television he currently leads Full Moon Features' new Lovecraftian series Miskatonic U. In film he most recently starred as Hermes in the mythological epic Exceptional Beings.

How were you first introduced to the bard?

I saw a production of Macbeth that was almost entirely shouted, with swords that bent when the actors hit them together. Never looked back.

Favorite Shakespeare Play

Whichever I read last.

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

“Cowards die many times before their deaths, The valiant never taste of death but once.” (Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2)

Christopher Lyons

Christopher Lyons

Mirth

Matter

Christopher Lyons is a roller coaster of wholesome and evil, and is excited to start this new journey with Mirth and Matter. He attended the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, got his BA from Saint Louis University, and received his MFA from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. His theatre credits include The Laramie Project, Much Ado About Nothing, Evil Dead the Musical (part of the Las Vegas cast), and Hamlet (1st Quarto). In 2018, he premiered his solo-horror play Final Preparations at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. In 2021, he played a conman on America’s Most Wanted. He’s lived in Los Angeles since 2016, hoping to find his place in film history, along with the decades of actors, writers, and performers he’s enjoyed since he was very young.

How were you first introduced to the bard?

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. I came for the stars and the style. I stayed for the language.

Favorite Shakespeare Play

Titus Andronicus. It taught me not to take anything too seriously.

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

“We came into the world like brother and brother; And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.” (The Comedy of Errors, Act 5, Scene 1)

Brendan Kane

Brendan Kane

Mirth

Matter

Raised by two Colonels in the United States Air Force, Brendan Kane originally joined the theatre world as a means to get out of gym class, and has been hooked ever since. He is a Los Angeles-based actor, voice actor and teacher, and a graduate of Oklahoma City University where he studied Acting and minored in Directing. He has worked with various theatres across the country, including the Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the National Theatre for Children, the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company, and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. He is elated to be working with such a talented ensemble, and to create and share our interpretation of Shakespeare’s beautiful texts.

How were you first introduced to the bard?

I was first introduced to Mr. Shakespeare in a Summer Youth Theatre Camp, where we performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream in rep with the musical Cats. And yes, I was Old Deuteronomy, thank you for asking.

Favorite Shakespeare Play

Romeo and Juliet

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

“These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which as they kiss consume.” — (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 6)

Matt Jennings

Mirth

Matter

Matt graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Theater Arts, and continues to practice his craft on stage and in front of the camera. His one man show, "The Universe of Matt Jennings" which he wrote and co-produced, made its west coast premiere at the Long Beach Playhouse. Three years later the show made its east coast premier in The New York Fringe Festival. He wrote, directed and starred in a short film ("The Collective") with an independent production company he co-founded. He was also a west coast finalist in a monologue competition for ABFF (American Black Film Festival) Star Project for 2017 (sponsored by NBC). Matt sees acting as an opportunity to enlighten, dry tears and turn frowns upside down. He believes in the power of acting to encourage people to contemplate the strange and beautiful.

How were you first introduced to the bard?

Auditioning for Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in school. I was unfamiliar with the language and said “Tarry rash wonton…” instead of “Tarry rash wanton..” We had a good laugh.

Favorite Shakespeare Play

Twelfth Night

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” (The Tempest, Act 4, Scene1)

Samantha Winters

Mirth

Matter

Samantha Winters received her bachelor's degree in history and theatre from California Lutheran University in 2016. She also spent a semester studying Shakespeare and dramaturgy at the University of London, Queen Mary College in 2015. Since graduating college, she has appeared in various productions in and around Los Angeles County, including Much Ado About Nothing at Downtown Repertory/Sierra Madre Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare by the Sea, King Lear and Macbeth at Rubicon Theatre Company, and Henry V and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Kingsmen Shakespeare Company. Aside from acting, she has worked as a box office manager, barista, singer, and dramaturg. 

How were you first introduced to the bard?

As a pretentious sixth grader, I found a copy of Romeo and Juliet that had a very beautiful picture of Olivia Hussey as Juliet on the cover... and I absolutely judged the book by its cover. I didn't understand a word I read, but I felt very smart for reading it. 

Favorite Shakespeare Play

Comedy: Much Ado About Nothing, History: Richard II, Tragedy: Macbeth

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

"But then there was a star danc'd, and under that was I born." (Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2, Scene 1)

Ashley Diane Currie

Ashley Diane Currie

Mirth

Matter

Ashley Diane Currie can be seen on SEAL Team; Law & Order: Criminal Intent; various short films and commercials and stand up comedy stages around LA and NYC. She is a graduate from David Mamet's Atlantic Acting Conservatory NYC and is currently a student with BGB Studios here in Los Angeles. 

How were you first introduced to the bard?

In a middle school English class reading Julius Caesar aloud, with a pencil in hand for a sword.

Favorite Shakespeare Play

Macb- …you know…the Scottish Play

Favorite Shakespeare Quote / Insult

“Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat, offer’st me brass?” (Henry V, Act 4, Scene 4)