An Adaptation of a Classic
Much Ado About Nothing is the story of two couples who fall in love. Hero and Claudio are a fairly conventional couple, whereas Beatrice and Benedick are more sarcastic, ironic, and comedic characters who are fooled into loving each other.
When Marcia Eppich-Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, sat down to adapt Much Ado, her goal was to try to make Shakespeare less threatening to students who view his work as complex and/or frightening.
“I put a frame narrative on the play about two students who are studying for a Shakespeare test. The anxiety that students typically feel about Shakespeare was established, and then the students become a part of the play, taking on the roles of two major characters: Hero and Don Pedro,” Eppich-Harris said.
Kristopher Steege, M.F.A., assistant professor and director of theatre, has wanted to produce a Shakespeare play for years (Marian produced Twelfth Night in 1998), but faced many challenges. Shakespeare’s plays generally require a fairly large cast, demanding more men than women, and Shakespearean dialogue is complex and foreign to modern students without formal training.
A Film is Born
In lieu of these challenges, filming the play seemed to be a perfect solution. “With a film, we could potentially have students playing multiple roles without the hassle of working out quick costume changes during a live show. Also, the students would not have to memorize the entire show, they could memorize sections before filming each scene,” Steege said.
Filming the production opened up other new avenues for education. “I’ve been aware that students at Marian University have been producing films on their own without any guidance or training and publishing their work on sources like ‘YouTube,’” Steege said.
Inspired by this revelation, Steege brought in James Leagre to teach special topic courses in film production. The courses were a success and Leagre, with his background in both live theatre and film, was the natural choice to direct and film the project.
“Many of the skills learned in theatre production, design, and acting classes are naturally transferrable to careers in film,” Steege said. “This play was the perfect opportunity to produce a show that students would be investigating through analysis of both text and performance,” he continued.
|Character ||Actor/Actress |
|Hero (Heather) ||Kayla Wilder |
|Don Pedro (Jake) ||Jon Martin |
|Beatrice ||Kaitlyn Reed |
|Benedick ||Anthony Jones |
|Claudio ||Charlie Burkley |
|Leonato ||Simon Salgado |
|Don John ||Eamon Roberts |
|Margaret ||Catie Parr |
|Borachio ||Zach Luttrell |
|Friar ||Billy Thompson |
Walk-ons include: Olivia Gehrich, Holly Freeland, Jill Crane, Jessica McQuillin, Tamara Wutsch, and Megan Beyers.
Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children, students, senior citizens, and alumni; and free for Marian University students, faculty, and staff with I.D. and non-perishable food donation.
For more information and ticket reservations, please contact the box office at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 317.955.6389.