LSUDrama presents "Much Ado About Nothing"
May 11, 2009
By Larry Becker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( www.lasierra.edu )Shakespeare as you've never seen it before! Belly dancers, Baghdad, Bussing (that's an old-fashioned word for "kissing"--used here for alliterative purposes), bombs, American troops, explosions, Hero in love with a GI? Say what? That’s LSUDrama’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” scheduled for May 13, 14, 16, 17 @ 8 p.m. in Matheson Hall on the La Sierra University campus. Come see for yourself. Bardolators welcome.
In the non-traditional setting of war-torn Iraq, a comedic love story about betrayal and redemption. To pass the time before their wedding, Claudio and Hero conspire to set a “lover’s trap” for their friends Beatrice and Benedick who claim to hate each other. Meanwhile the evil Don John sets a “death-trap” for Hero. Will Beatrice and Benedick admit their love when they realize they’ve been tricked? Will Claudio realize he’s been duped in time to save Hero.
And was Shakespeare a woman? “Yes!” according to Marilynn Loveless whose 2004 dissertation offered a plausible explanation for how Mrs. Shakespeare was able to acquire the necessary education and experience to write the works long attributed to her husband.
This LSUDrama production of “Much Ado About Nothing” will be the first time in the history of the world, that the play will be presented with attribution to the true author, according to Loveless who has already directed award-winning productions of Mrs. Shakespeare’s, “Othello” and “The Taming of the Shrew.”
“There will be no bardolotry allowed,” announced Loveless at the first rehearsal for the show which stars La Sierra University students, faculty, and guest artists from Riverside Community College. “One of the beauties of these texts, is that they invite multiple interpretations,” according to Loveless who admits, “Traditional Shakespeare scholars i.e. bardolators, can have a problems with my approach.” However, her interest remains with creating an accessible and relevant experience for the audience leading her to produce this version of “Much Ado” in war-torn Iraq.
Only 7 bucks--or 5 if you are LSU student/staff/faculty. Either way it's a bargain.
Box office 951 785-2241 or email LSUDrama@lasierra.edu.
Director’s Comments from Marilynn Loveless:
Appropriating another culture is a venture fraught with peril. The decision to place this story in Iraq was driven in part by my desire to better understand the people of this proud country and offer our audience an opportunity to look beyond the media pictures of a country ravaged by war, and discover shared human experiences of love, laughter, betrayal and redemption.
I once spent a brief time as a cinema studies student at La Trobe University in Australia. In my Non-Western Cinema class we looked at a documentary shot by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. It offered another perspective; suddenly I was able to identify with the “other.” The sound of American jets flying overhead dropping bombs was a frightening threat, and I experienced a profound shift and empathetic response to the people of North Vietnam. Although history is a story told by the winners, this experience reminded me of the implications of this war from an infrequently considered viewpoint.
To live in a country that is relatively free of the threats of a daily war is a luxury that most Americans take for granted. Just as Jesus took on the role of human being, I invite my drama students to step into the shoes of people from a diversity of cultures in order to foster better understanding. Most Americans have no idea what it means to be in a country with a foreign occupying military presence. Theater is a powerful form of communication. Given the right circumstances, audiences will accept new ideas and leave the theater re-thinking their lives and the experiences that exist beyond the bubble of their comfort zone. As you experience this production, we challenge you to imagine what it would be like to confront a foreign, and in some cases hostile, military check point as you attempted to go about the business of your day.
Rather than simply direct another play by Mrs. Shakespeare that serves as a paean to the bard, I also wanted to do something to acknowledges a 21st century cultural phenomenon where the written or spoken word has been replaced by the visual. Many audience members find the Elizabethan language, albeit beautiful, inaccessible. This shift from word to image in our mass media era, encourages us to provide our audience with an eye-intense spectacle that engages this new-found sensibility for reading visual images as text. The vibrant traditions and mosaic extravagance of Arabic culture enhance this timeless story of boy hates girl, girl hates boy--so you know they’re going to end up together! The shortened script and choreography that move the story forward acknowledge the power of the eye in Western culture, a power that we are only beginning to analyze and appreciate.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University