Actors bring Shakespearean comedy to NIC stage
It’s amazing how, in love, things get blown out of proportion.
NIC’s theatre department presented William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing” Oct. 25-27.
This comedy is about two pairs of lovers. One pair, Benedick and Beatrice, first deny their love for each other then, later, reluctantly admit their love. The second pair, Claudio and Hero, fall in love almost immediately and must overcome the obstacle of accusation.
“These men, the Prince and the Count, accuse her [Hero] of being unfaithful,” said Josy Wegner, 21, who played Beatrice. “They try and discredit her. Everyone believes them, they’re men of a high position. The Fryer, Benedick and I are the only people on her side.”
Wegner said she could identify with her character.
“I think Beatrice is the best female character in Shakespeare; she’s such a strong character and so independent, which I love,” Wegner said. “She doesn’t depend on a man at all. I am a lot more romantic than Beatrice is. I fall in love very easily and I develop crushes very easily. I’ll see couples holding hands and I’ll go aww; Beatrice, not so much. She’s fine without having a man in her life. In fact, she’s happier at first or maybe she’s pretending to be happier not having a man in her life. She’s so self-sufficient and I wish I was more like her.”
Additionally, Wegner said she also connected with the other female lead character, Hero, in many ways.
“I understand the societal pressures of being a female,” Wegner said. “Obviously, it’s nowhere near the extent that it was in Shakespeare’s time, but it’s still relevant today.”
Duncan Menzies played Claudio, a soldier who works for Don John, the play’s villain.
“[Claudio] is a person who holds honor and integrity close to his heart….emotion controls all his actions,” said Menzies, 19, music, Spirit Lake. “Playing this character sort of brought out some of my personal insecurities. I learned a lot about myself.…it made me more aware of my actions.”
Before stepping into the shoes of his character Boraccio, actor Gustave Lester said he had only about two weeks to study up and learn his lines before the play opened. Even with that short time to prepare, Lester said he was able to understand and connect with his character, a drunkard who doesn’t care much for royalty.
“I think everybody has a moment when they have dislike for a certain person or group,” said Lester, 19, general studies, Caldwell, “whether it’s political or something else, to the point that they feel like acting out against them physically or violently, even if that’s not always the best option.”
“Much Ado about Nothing” was written around 1599, when it was a man’s world. During this time, women lacked a voice and were not allowed on stage. Men played all the roles. The directors, Joe Jacoby and Crystal Bain, took it upon themselves to reverse the gender roles, casting women in male roles for the clown characters in the Watch.
“Much Ado About Nothing” will also be performed Nov. 1-3 in Boswell Hall.
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