Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was radical in the 16th century for featuring a female character, Beatrice, with a sharp tongue and rapier wit. Now in the 21st century Jamaica Moon Productions and The GGC Present have taken this classic Shakespearean romantic comedy to a whole new level by incorporating modern rock and roll music and some well-done choreography into the presentation while keeping the essential story line true.
It is a brilliant marriage of a great classic with contemporary art with a result that is highly pleasing and for me, and I suspect many others, makes Shakespeare infinitely more enjoyable and relatable.
Much Ado About Nothing is Executive Produced and Directed by Gloria Gifford and is currently on stage at T. U. Studios in North Hollywood, California. The venue is diminutive but somehow as if by magic manages to allow the quite large cast to deliver their performance in a thoroughly compelling and seductive manner. I am often reminded of the truth that the quality of a performance is determined far more by the skill of the performers than the size of their stage.
Set in 16th century Sicily it is a story of two couples evolving love. In the case of Beatrice [Tejah Signori], niece of the local governor and Benedick [Chad Doreck] a gentleman friend of Don Pedro Prince of Aragon [Jeff Hamasaki Brown] the relationship at first seems adversarial but is pushed into a growing love with the conspiratorial help of their friends. Young nobleman Claudio [Keith Walker] falls in love with Hero [Kasia Pilewicz], daughter of Leonato [Justin Truesdale]. But Don John [Billy Budinich] launches an evil plan to besmirch the virtue of Hero, resulting in a catastrophe rather than a marriage.
To add a bit more understanding of the historic elements of one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved plays I offer these quotes from Wikipedia.
Much Ado About Nothing is a comedic play by William Shakespeare thought to have been written in 1598 and 1599, as Shakespeare was approaching the middle of his career. The play was included in the First Folio, published in 1623. Much Ado About Nothing is generally considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, because it combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honour, shame, and court politics.
By means of “noting” (which, in Shakespeare’s day, sounded the same as “nothing” as in the play’s title, and which means gossip, rumour, and overhearing), Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful. At the end, Benedick and Beatrice join forces to set things right, and the others join in a dance celebrating the marriages of the two couples.
With that said I offer that what is currently on stage at T. U. Studios in no way diminishes the work of the great Bard but rather enhances and amplifies its overall entertainment value and is extremely enjoyable at every level. Finally there is a version of Shakespeare that reaches the modern masses. I am absolutely confident that if William Shakespeare had been in the audience he would have given the show his standing ovation.
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Much Ado About Nothing is at T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo Avenue, North Hollywood, California 91602. It runs now through September 18th 2016 with show times: Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. Reservations may ve made by calling 310-366-5505. Tickets may be purchased online at Tix.com
Photos by Matthew Caine. Top photo: Kasia Pilewicz, Keith Walker and Justin Trusdale
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.