“Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.”
Act 2, Scene 3
“Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s strongest comedies—a well-rounded ‘Rom-Com,’ (romantic comedy) if you will,” said Wendy Franz, managing director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, bringing its third free summer production at 7pm on Aug. 13, 14 and 15 at Founders Green, 29th and Roslyn.
“The lines are clever and they still ring true. The characters riff on stuff, especially Beatrice, a young woman who speaks her mind,” Franz said of the comedy, about men returning from war to find a war of wits and romance.
The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, now in its 58th season at the University of Colorado Boulder, chose Much Ado About Nothing for its Stapleton performance from among its summer repertory of five plays.
“Much Ado is a crowd-pleaser,” Franz said. “The characters are delightful and the cast has a good time. There’s always movement and energy. Kids love the physical comedy; I’m recommending it to all my friends with children.”
The production is set in 1840s Sicily. “It’s like Jane Eyre in Italy, with lovely costumes, flowers everywhere and folk music and dancing of the time,” Franz said. “Actors dance the Tarantella and there’s a live guitar player.
The production is very lush and romantic—especially romantic since the main love-interest characters, Beatrice and Benedick [Vanessa Morosco and Peter Simon Hilton], are married in real life. The chemistry is amazing as they journey from bickering to falling in love.”
Bringing the production to Stapleton from their home theatre, the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, requires planning. “We won’t bring the whole set structure, but we’ll bring a lot,” said Franz. “We’ll construct a second level for the balcony scenes and we’ll bring the props that the actors interact with, plus all the flowers, decorations and the costumes, of course.
“There are no dressing rooms so it’s more like the circus for our 20-member cast. Like our own outdoor theatre, there’s not much variation in the lighting—just day and night. The weather can be tempestuous, of course. Touring is always different and exciting; it’s an opportunity for everyone to be creative and flexible. As the Greeks said, all you need is lights, actors and words.”
Much Ado About Nothing has been called the Hamlet of Shakespeare comedies. “Like Hamlet, it was written later in Shakespeare’s career,” said Franz. “It’s considered more complete than many of his comedies. It’s well-developed, the plot is a complete arc and the script is solid. It’s still funny and it has memorable lines. It’s mostly a rollicking good time, but it also contains thoughtful meditations on the different classes. Everyone’s aware of where they are in the social strata, and they jockey for favor with the classes above them.”
Shakespeare on The Green was so popular the first year that it was expanded from two nights to three last year. “Stapleton is great because it works toward real community in what could be just a suburban neighborhood. It’s the ideal venue; sharing free theatre makes it accessible. It’s the perfect summer thing to do,” said Franz.
“We hope people take away the magic from experiencing live theatre. It’s still something special that you can’t get from a computer. It’s a joyous thing to see the actors and artisans do what they do. We hope the audience gets a warm glow.”