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Katie Bender
* World Premiere *

Urbanite Theatre, 2024


Preview - Shakespeare’s Sister: Actress lives out a dream in

Urbanite world premiere

Sarasota Observer

    Bender’s play constantly shifts its center of gravity. Director Brendon Fox directs her madcap material with deft feints and dodges. He keeps you off balance, but always keeps the action clear. Not easy. This is a very physical performance. Scanlon’s a moving target in his production. Fox makes sure you keep them (Scanlon identifies as nonbinary) in focus...Scanlon is a Shakespearean shapeshifter, changing voices, accents and body language in the blink of an eye. Along with Judith, Scanlon plays nine other roles in this show. (These include Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.) Each characterization is totally distinct. The mercurial performance is a delight to watch.  

Sarasota Magazine

Scanlon is adept at switching moods and characters, all while throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the emotions and ideas the play raises. Directed by Brendon Fox, on a minimalist set by Jeffrey Weber that nevertheless affords us various locales in our imaginations, Scanlon is lively, touching and believable as a woman daring to reach beyond the normal to discover more about herself and life in general.  



Scanlon makes you feel Judith’s sense of wide-eyed wonder at all she is experiencing, and her conflicted feelings as she begins to fall for a Dutch botanist named Agnes. Is Judith feeling that way because she is spending so much time dressed as a man, or is there something more?  Fox keeps Scanlon moving with purpose around the intimate space at Urbanite, which features a set by Jeffrey Weber of mostly wood flooring that extends up the walls to create the sense of a barn or attic space. Under Michael Pasquini’s lighting, those walls also come to represent the city skyline of a still-growing London.  It all comes together in an engaging way under Brendon Fox’s fluid and clear-headed direction.

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