The giddiness of the game of love, tempered by conspiracy, enflames this witty and enchanting romantic comedy by Shakespeare. However, like every one of Shakespeare’s plays, Much Ado About Nothing flouts convention, defies classification, and resists categorization.
Oh yes, it’s a comedy - notably when Beatrice and Benedick hurl fusillades of clever insults at each other. Benedick is determined to “die a Bachelor”, and Beatrice would rather hear a dog bark than hear a man say that he loves her. They might just be the perfect couple!
The light-hearted story of Much Ado, set against the turmoil of feuding brothers, explores how cunning and mischief can unravel reputations of couples of any gender.
Thus, it’s not all fun and games in Messina - not when there’s a villain, Don John, sowing seeds of rumor and alternative truths for no reason but to make others as discontent as he is; and, not when an innocent woman is defamed by the love of her life and forsaken by her own father just as she is about to be married.
No need to fear, though! The day - and the comedy - will be saved by an unlikely crew of seemingly hapless officers of the law, led by the indomitable Master Constable Dogberry, who does as much damage to the English language as he does to the villains’ plans.
Setting Much Ado About Nothing in 1945, just after the end of World War II, makes sense for lots of reasons. The sparring between Beatrice and Benedick reminds us of the verbal battle of the sexes waged by Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in classic 40s films like Adam’s Rib and Woman of the Year.
Also, because of the war, women assumed a new status marked by independence and self-reliance that - however brief and bittersweet - guaranteed that things would never be the way they were before the war. Those changes are reflected in the various women like the feisty, independent Beatrice, the more traditional but emergent Hero, the spirited Margaret, and the proud Antonia.
With musical performances of songs from the era, Much Ado About Nothing is sure to delight audiences this summer! After all, how can you beat the combination of Shakespeare and “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy”?!
June 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
July 3, 5, 6, 7, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 4:00pm
Tickets $40, $35 for balcony seating
Discounts: $5 for members, $2 for seniors/veterans