Archive for March, 2009
It happens to by my favorite work by William Shakespeare, so my expectations for “Much Ado About Nothing” are high.
But then, so too are my expectations for the Prenzie Players.
Shakespeare’s romantic comedy centers around two couples, Claudio and Hero who are engaged and Beatrice and Benedick who outwardly enjoy taunting each other in a joyfully hateful relationship. Their friends set out to get them to both realize and confess their love for each other, which carries the bulk of the comedy in this romantic comedy. Claudio and Hero are more so responsible for the romance.
Oh, but there’s another player in this game, Don John, who’s jealousy fosters a scheme to sabotage Claudio and Hero’s wedding. He sets in motion a seemingly confirmed rumor of Hero’s unfaithfulness.
The Prenzie’s production of Much Ado deserves much ado about it. This show is a perfect example of the strength of the Players. Director Stephanie Burrough’s choices, in collaboration with the cast, are truly inspired. From Don John’s sparring practice to a yoga session, she’s set the play in everyday modern settings, adding a believability an an approachability to the material. And, in some cases, some humor to add entertainment value (Denise Yoder’s yoga is one of the strongest points of humor in the production.)
The choice of costumes are also inspired. All are modern, but with a fluidity reminiscent of a more classic time.
While, personally, it always takes me a bit to get used to the language of Shakespeare, it took me longer to do so when I attended Much Ado, due to fatigue, not anything on the Prenzie’s part. But, it actually points to the strengths of the show. First, the Prenzies are comfortable with the language, knowing full well what they are saying and, thanks to solid acting skills, are able to convey the meaning of the words even if they are not fully understood by me, for example. On top of that, the direction, blocking and humor are so delightful, I don’t think it would matter if one could not follow the words. The production is still thoroughly enjoyable.
As for the cast, once again, it’s solid. While each and every cast member deserves a right up, I cannot take the time, nor the space to do so. But, on top of the solid cast, I would like to mention a few standouts. Cait Bodenbender is enrapturing. So comfortable in the role and with the language, she’s an absolute delight. Beth Woolley is also impressive as Don John, here as Dona Jane instead, thanks to gender-bending casting. There are times I thought Woolley was about to cross that line and take things over the top. But, she always remains in control, maintaining nuance to her performance. And, the anger she maintains control of actually makes her stunning. It adds to her physical beauty, making for a mix of a villain who is so enticing. Truly remarkable.
Much Ado About Nothing runs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday night (March 13-15) at 8:00. If you arrive late, you will not be seated, so be sure to arrive early. Doors open at 7:30 at the Village Theatre in the Village of East Davenport. Tickets are only available at door for eight dollars.
Having just dealt with a friend who’s up in arms about a new movie based on the board game Clue, I’m inspired to write about my annoyance at people who get so upset about remakes. (That said, this new Clue is not a remake, but a new movie inspired by the board game. There’s a difference.)
Some people get so upset when a movie is remade. They’ll rant and rave about how good the original is and how the studio is going to muck this one up. I mean, seriously, people get upset! It’s ridiculous.
I have absolutely no problems with remakes. For one, the original movie doesn’t instantly disappear from the face of the earth. It still exists. If you, the viewer, prefer the original, THEN WATCH THE ORIGINAL and ignore the remake. No one is forcing you to foresake the original and suddenly put your passion behind the remake. You can completely ignore the fact that the remake even exists. There is no reason to waste emotion energy on a remake.
For two, sometimes the remakes are better. Technology is the main area in which this is true. Go back and watch a horror movie from the 70’s or 80’s. The thrill and scare may be there, but the blood and effects are laughable. Today’s technology allows for a much more realistic look. I’ll concede that remakes of horror films tend to lose some of the thrill and scare in favor of better effects, but that’s not always the case. I think it worth the risk to remake a movie, with the chance it could be equally as good, script-wise, and undoubtedly better effects-wise.
“Clash of the Titans” is a great example. The remake is in the works as I write this. It’s such a classic, that some would say it’s untouchable. In my opinion, no film is untouchable. As for “Clash of the Titans”, I love the original. It’s a great story and truly fantastic. But, it’s dated. The effects are not that good. I’m quite anxious to see it with today’s movie technology. This movie has the potential to top the original.
And, for three, it’s a movie. Seriously. IT’S A MOVIE! Life, history, the universe is not changed in any way by the fact your favorite movie is getting a remake. It’s not worth losing sleep over. So, calm down and tell me what you love about the original. There’s no need to work up a storm in your soul over a measily movie.