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Sunday February 26, 2017
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Much Ado about Nothing

 

continued

In the first scene, Don Pedro and his men "surf" ashore, where Leonato greets them in a Jamaican accent: "Let me bid you welcome, mon." Later scenes unfold at a tourist hotel. When Hero and her handmaiden Ursula conspire to convince Beatrice that Benedick loves her, the scene is staged in the "pool" with the actresses "floating" on rafts made of wheeled children's scooters.

And what's a beach comedy without surf music? Here a reggae rhythm guitar riff backs "Sigh no more, ladies."

It all works, and on several levels. Shakespeare, endlessly malleable, takes on unexpected dimensions when acted by eleven-to-seventeen-year-olds. Watching the initial fight/flirt between Beatrice and Benedick, you can easily picture the scene happening in Huron or Pioneer High's cafeteria, the sparring duo egged on by their friends. It works the other way too: you can imagine the actors not only portraying their characters in the play but also playacting the roles of the adults they soon will be.

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