As most theatrical productions come to life after a four-six week rehearsal process, University of Wisconsin-Parkside Drama Club produces a live, entertaining, and simplistic version of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in just two weeks!
“I want the audience to share in the playful moments of the performers on stage, and feel the energetic immediacy of these moments!” says Director Felicia Dominguez as she prepares her actors for the opening of Much Ado About Nothing. With the many theatrical elements and actions embedded in the text of Shakespeare’s language, Dominguez with her talented group of actors and technical crew push forward to produce this artistic work in two weeks! Similar to Parkside graduate Dylan Roberts’s project of Shakespeare’s Twelve Night last fall, Much Ado About Nothing will be performed on the terrace stage, outside of the Student Union, just after two weeks of rehearsal. Rehearsals for this project began on Thursday, August 31st.
“I find the most difficult aspect of this undertaking to be that our set is constricted to the amount of time we have, as well as the space granted. On that same note, we are able to return to the basic elements of theatrical drama by using a very simplistic and minimal set,” says Dominguez as she explains the unique aspects of producing this project.
Much Ado is a comedic tale of foolery and love as a band of characters, Claudio, Hero, Beatrice, and Benedick, face the challenges of love, jealousy, deception, and hidden attraction. Not to mention, the societal oppression each character must face in order to gain an understanding of who they are as people, or individuals. In sharing her approach to this work of art, Dominguez explained how she is conceptually setting this piece in a circus, with a hierarchy of circus characters. Besides conjuring up a modern sensibility to its performance, this concept allows for each character to discover an inner truth about themselves, wearing multiple masks throughout the performance.
Plans for this particular production began in May of last semester. Drama Club decided on this piece due to several elements, including its comedic nature, cast size and dependability, approachable concept, educational value, and Shakespearean attraction.
Interestingly enough, most of the cast consists of underclassmen. “By casting underclassmen in this production, I feel that they will gain a valuable sense of what’s in store for them along this path they have chosen. Especially with the time constraint, each actor and technician is encouraged to put that much more effort and quickness into their work. I am so proud of the collective work ethic, achievement, and dedication within this production,” says Dominguez as she explains more unique aspects of this show.
Yet again, it is extremely astonishing that such a piece can be rehearsed, artistically staged, and produced within a two-week process! When speaking with Dominguez about her aspirations for this production, she said, “I hope to see the audience embark upon the adventure within the tale, and experience the playfulness each and every actor brings to their character as they tell the tale!”
William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will be performed Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12th, at 7:30 pm on the Student Center Terrace.
Article by Bobby Johnson