BWW Interviews: Robinwood Players to Present MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Even though the language and settings may have changed over centuries, one situation remains true: romantic relationships are often complicated over simple matters. In the Robinwood Players production of the Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing, directed by David Dull and running through August 3 at Hagerstown Community College, actors were introduced to the universal themes of love and relationships.
"Much Ado About Nothing is amongst the easier accepted Shakespeare productions for modern audiences. It's a soap opera, but funnier. The emotions on stage are very true - the audience will not need to know the words to understand the phrase. Still, Shakespeare fans will adore the true-to-form yet spunky performance" said Catherine Stover, who plays Hero.
In Much Ado About Nothing, two pairs of lovers confess their love, break up and go through the many familiar stages of a relationship, with plenty of meddling in between from their friends and enemies. Benedick and Beatrice are mutually attracted to each other, though they are both too stubborn to admit it, until some gossip, overheard conversations and other circumstances make the couple realize their love. Meanwhile, faithful lover Claudio is tricked into thinking his virtuous bride, Hero, has been untrue and calls off their wedding at the alter.
"There is a certain duality about Benedick that makes him interesting to play. He is incredibly full of himself, and attempts to be independent. He may, or may not, have emotions for Beatrice. He is constantly engaging and battling her in wits, and it has proved challenging, as an actor, to encompass all of his sides" said Hampton Cade on playing Benedick.
One interesting factor about this Shakespeare comedy is the varied characterizations and relationships between the characters.
"When presented with the role of Borachio, I had to ponder how a villain would move, act, and sound or what kind of villain he is. Borachio is conniving and sinister. He creates plots throughout the show to create turmoil and chaos for the cast, until it backfires tremendously" said Lawson Cade on playing Borachio.
"Seeking to please her high-class single father, Hero is so exasperatingly sweet and kind. I loved layering in some nervous excitement beneath her gentle, soft-spoken demeanor" said Stover.
"The most interesting thing about playing Leonato is even though he is involved in most of the play, he isn't as active as the other characters. He prefers to not need to get involved, though when he does need to be involved, he does not shy away" said Aron Weibley, about playing Leonato.
"Conrad is smart, sly, devious, captivating, and manipulative. She does not experience a change of heart during the show. It can be a challenge to play the bad guy!" said Anne, who plays Conrad.
The cast agrees, though the language may be difficult to decipher, modern audiences will enjoy this Shakespeare production.
"This is the perfect show for those who are wary about Shakespeare. It is lighter, funnier, and much more cohesive, than some of his other works. Unlike his tragedies, this show doesn't bombard you with death, and macabre metaphors all day long" said Hampton Cade.
"This show touches on themes of love, relationships, adversity, and ultimately triumph. Besides, it's always good to see the good guys win" said Weibley
"Audiences should come see this show if they are in need of a good laugh. This show is a timeless Shakespeare comedy that is laced with enough drama to keep the audience on their toes" said Ashley Warfield, who plays Margaret.
"Much Ado about Nothing is a show about deceit, confusion, and love. There is so much plotting to trick the main characters into loving one another. It is a riot to watch the deceit and actions take effect over the characters and watch them change over the course of the show. It is a play about making a lot of something from nothing at all and how important the little things can be in our lives." said Lawson Cade.
The Much Ado About Nothing cast features Hassan Juma as Don Pedro, Andrew Payne as Don John, Josiah Hixon as Claudio, Andrew Payne as Friar Francis, Sean Besecker as Dogsberry, Darcy Shull as Beatrice, Diane Draper as Ursula, Madeline Harmon as Verges, Katelyn Shreiner as Sexton, Diane Draper as Watch 1, Andrew Payne as Watch 2 and Katelyn Shreiner as the Maiden.
Much Ado About Nothing will run August 1 and 2 at 8:00 PM and August 3 at 2:30 PM. All performances occur in the Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, Maryland. Tickets are $10 general admission and free for Hagerstown Community College students, faculty and staff with valid I.D.
Photo Credit: Robinwood Players, Hagerstown Community College