Much Ado about Nothing

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor
Part of the A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance Series book series (DSP)


[This] was the strangest production of any play I have ever seen… The opening was a classic anti-war commentary. Soldiers in World War I uniforms, illuminated by flashing overhead spots, posed in the grimacing contortions of agonized death to the accompaniment of weird electronic music… The costumes were black, white, brown, and gray, highly textured, and relieved by occasional washed-out rainbow stripes. Beatrice sometimes wore a quasi-pantsuit, and Benedick was mod in bell-bottom trousers, while other costumes were selected at random from several historical periods. Set pieces were free-form multicolored pieces from a Disney animator gone mad. The masked ball found everyone garbed in flowing black performing danse macabre to funereal organ music… For the Chapel scene, a procession of white-cloaked actors bearing futuristic torches passed down the aisles to the stage, where there was enshrined a strangely robed creature with no face (it turned out to be the priest) guarded by grotesquely masked attendants. An enormous moon brooded in the background. It was a scene transplanted from Star Trek, visually magnificent and absolutely senseless… Stephen D. Newman was especially good as Don Pedro and should have been playing Benedick, for his charm was just what Theodore Sorel lacked in the role. Dale Helward was a properly villainous Don John, while Tom Toner and John McMurty delighted the audience as Dogberry and Verges. But acting could not save this play, and a restless gentleman behind me summed up the production in one incredulous whisper: “What on earth is going on here?” (Lynn K. Horobetz, Shakespeare Quarterly 21 [1970]: 470–71)


Opening Date Scene Change Strange Production Festival Director Strobe Light 
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Copyright information

© Katharine Goodland and John O’Connor 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor

There are no affiliations available

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