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February's Play of the Month February 1, 2012 12:00 AM | Tagged as contest, Emma Thompson, February, Kenneth Branagh, Much Ado About Nothing, Nathan Fillion, Romance, trivia

Much Ado About Nothing

The play of the month for February needed to be a VERY romantic play, so it had to be Much Ado About Nothing. I was trying to remember if I had seen or read this play before seeing the Kenneth Branagh movie version came out in 1993 and I don’t think I had, or if I had, it didn’t really make an impression on me. 

Then I saw the movie…and my life changed (well not really, but I thought it was absolutely amazing!). In the opening scene, when Emma Thompson begins by reading, in her beautiful low voice, …”sigh no more ladies, sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever…” it always sends chills up my spine. I know it was because of her voice and the way she read it. 

   Emma Thompson in first scene       Denzel Washington as Prince Don Pedro and some of his men

It was an amazing movie. Then I saw it over and over at various festivals, and theater productions in Mesa, Phoenix, and Utah and it has been a favorite ever since. 

I don’t think I have seen a bad rendition of it ever but that may be because as long as the lines are Shakespeare, you really can’t go too wrong. The next version that is to come out is an independent movie version, directed by Joss Whedon and stars one of my FAVORITE actors, Nathan Fillion in the role as Dogberry.  He will be perfect for this role and I can’t wait until it comes out! 

                                                                         Nathan Fillion           Joss Whedon            Sean Mahar

The plot of this play is about a group of soldiers that are returning from battles and decide to stay at the home of Leonato, who has a beautiful daughter, Hero. Claudius, one of Prince Don Pedro’s men, falls for Hero and a marriage is arranged. But the real love story is not between Hero and Claudius, but between the two who are always fighting and insulting each other, Beatrice and Benedick. Their friends and family play a trick on each of them separately, intimating that each is “in love” with the other secretly and that is where the fun is. 

Robert Sean Leonard(Claudio) and Kate Beckinsale(Hero)

We will get into the whole discussion of “how could Claudio be so unkind to Hero” when he thinks she has been unfaithful to him. That is the only frustrating part of this play but you have to remember when it was written and how women were treated at the time, just like with Taming of the Shrew. 

Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson as Benedick and Beatrice

Anyway, getting back to the plot, there are twists and turns, misunderstandings, beautiful music great one liners and romance all along the way until the happy conclusion of the play. If you haven’t seen this play before, look for a stage production in your area or find a copy of the 1993 movie. It is rated PG13 and I will warn you to stick to that or maybe even watch it before you let your teenagers see it. That is why I suggest a stage production of it first. 
*This week’s trivia question for the play is:  Is Beatrice, (who is Hero’s cousin), and Antonio, (Hero’s uncle), father and daughter? 
If you know the answer to this question, email the answer to me at: leslie@charmedbyshakespeare.com. All correct answers will be put into a “pot” and a name will be drawn at the end of the month to see who will win the charm that represents this play, which is a silver “heart”. Good luck! 

***Make sure you answer this month’s poll question in the right side bar about Much Ado About Nothing