Much Ado About Nothing Play Review Essay

I attended the opening night of Much Ado About Nothing on September 22nd in the Russell H. Miller Theatre. I saw posters for the play hanging in Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center, Cherry Hall, and outside the theatre. Upon entering, I was given a program with the exposition, characters, and actors’ names. As I walked to my seat, the lights were on, the set was onstage, and “folksy harp music” was playing, or as a classmate described it “Italian bistro music.” The set gave a “Greek” feel with cream columns and walls, and palm trees were behind the set in front of the cyclorama. I could tell the setting was in a European town close to the beach, which is close to the actual setting of Messina, an Italian coastal city.
This Shakespearian comedy focuses
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I liked Beatrice and Benedick best in the written play, because of their word play and the competition of wit between them. I also liked these characters in the performance. The actress who played Beatrice projected the loudest, so she was easily heard, but she also utilized inflection the best. The other actors used pitch and tone at certain points and more as the play progressed, but from her first scene, Miss Grow spoke as if she were conversing with a friend, rather than as a character. At first, Benedick did not project as much as I would have liked, but he delved more into character throughout the play, inflecting his voice and using gestures. He was incredible during the scene when Benedick “overhears” Leonato, Don Pedro, and Claudio discussing Beatrice’s love for Benedick. Mr. Clark first crouched by a wall near the wings of the stage and during the conversation, he ran to different hiding places, creeping around, and sticking his head out. Both actors also expressed the most emotion through facial expressions and tone of voice, whether it be contempt for each other, shock at having an admirer, or joy at loving the other. Claudio was convincingly angry, too, when he shamed Hero at the wedding. Bursts of emotion make a performance, of course, but they made this play powerful by highlighting the feelings that arise from gossip or hearsay and hasty …show more content…
I understood they were the comic relief, but it just seemed overdone and stupid to me. I could not understand half of Dogsberry’s lines, and his assistant Verges spoke very softly and with an accent. Dogsberry’s words are important to catch because he misuses words each time he speaks, as in “redemption” for “damnation.” The only line I could definitely understand was “I am an ass” and its variations. The first couple times Dogberry said it, the audience roared and so did I. It lost its effect on me afterward, and during the scene where Leonato takes the men from the Watch, I was annoyed. Dogberry made his exit, came back to say “I am an ass,” and left only to repeat the return thrice more. I understand the director’s decision to add the exits and returns, which are not in the actual play, for a college audience because they added humor and people continued laughing until the final “ass,” but I personally could have done without them. It was also hard to follow the other members’ dialogue and to understand the larger purpose of their characters to the play.
Besides the two scenes with the Watch and a few minor moments, I enjoyed the play. I felt the cast took Much Ado, which is a witty, tragic, powerful play with a message about reputations and “noting” others, and created a funny yet heart wrenching adaptation through the

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