'Much Ado About Nothing' brings constant comedy
After last year’s presentation of Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Richard III’, Grand Valley State University’s
theatre program decided to take a lighter approach for this year’s main stage production of the
In the play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, World War I has just come to an end and the soldiers will be
returning to their humble abodes in the midst of a celebration.
But, before the actual plot got rolling, the crowd was presented with a musical act. A banjo,
washboard, harmonica and cowbell – just to name a few – were among the instruments that were
strung and bashed through the course of three songs.
Laughter filled the crowd as the soldiers playing the instruments set the tone for the humorous play
that was about to begin.
When the mini concert ended, the soldiers ran off the stage, the lights went dim and it became clear
that the anticipation was over. Suddenly the curtain went up and the view of a large brick building and
two women sitting in chairs underneath an umbrella came into focus.
Dressed in their fancy attire, characters Beatrice and Hero conversed until they were interrupted by a
troop of soldiers that surprised the audience by singing down the aisle.
It didn’t take long before Beatrice started arguing with the recently returned soldier Benedict. The
chemistry between the two characters was evident to all except the pair themselves.
While the two quarreled about love and death, Hero cozied up in the background with one of the other
soldiers, Claudio, and the couple’s interest in each other quickly became apparent.
With one couple in extreme lust at first sight, the other pair showed nothing but complete dislike
toward each other and the general idea of love.
As the play progressed, Benedict and Beatrice continued to throw witty and sly remarks at one another
as Claudio worked to win over Hero’s heart. Although Shakespeare’s plays can be somewhat confusing
to understand at times due to his use of Old English, there was no mistaking the humor in this show.
Between phrases such as, “If they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad,” and
scenes where Benedict and Beatrice’s friends pushed the two to admit their love, the crowd
continuously howled in laughter.
Benedict and Beatrice hiding behind walls and under benches, narrowly avoiding the gaze of their
friends, was humorous to watch, especially because the pair were the only ones that were oblivious to
the fact that they were being set up.
Throughout the play, the actors remained animated and full of energy. Even when the play almost
turned into a tragedy, the cast kept the performance lighthearted. Through the use of facial
expressions and vocal inflections, they carried the comedic air from beginning to end.
The play will continue through Oct. 6 in the Louis Armstrong Theatre located in the Performing Arts
Center. For more information, check out www.gvsu.edu/shakes.