Monday, June 17, 2019

Much Ado About Nothing

This isn't exactly a review because I wasn't able to see the whole show. But here are some thoughts based on what I saw.

  • The rhythms of African-American casual conversation fit beautifully with Shakespeare's rhythms. In fact, particularly from Danielle Brooks, it was some of the most real-sounding Shakespearean dialogue I have ever heard. A real treat.
  • Seeing theatre at the Delacorte in Central Park is always lovely. We had an almost full moon and beautiful weather.
  • The Claudio-Hero subplot is ugly, ugly, ugly. The fairly young, fairly multiculti audience certainly thought so. When Hero's dad says that, if she's not a virgin, better she be dead, the audience gasped.
  • I theoretically like the idea of having Dogberry played by a woman, But Lateefah Holder comes across as extremely smart and competent so she has to fight against type to play the role.
  • Director Kenny Leon plays with making Much Ado political but doesn't really do much with the idea.
  • While the choreography by Camille A. Brown and the singing were great fun, they slowed down the show.
I think this will be my last Much Ado, at least for a few years. I've seen many productions, going back to the incredibly charming Sam Waterson-Kathleen Widdows version in the '70s, and over time the Claudio-Hero subplot has come to overpower the Beatrice-Benedick main plot. 

You gotta wonder what centuries of literature would have focused on if writers had simply realized that a woman having sex is not a sin or an awful thing or necessarily that big a deal. Poof! There go thousands of pages by Wharton and Tolstoy and Flaubert and Zola and and and. 

Oh well.

Wendy Caster
(row N, free ticket)

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