Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences

Much Ado About Nothing

In Event, Theater on April 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm

blog_muchAdo

By Tom Schwans, Adjunct Professor of Theater

From April 10th – 13th, Quinnipiac University Theater for Community was proud to present William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Below is my director’s note from the production. A complete collection of photos by Melissa Mizell can be seen on the QU Theater for Community Facebook page.

Shakespeare didn’t know that he was “Shakespeare!” Our deifying of Shakespeare came long after his death and our study of his work as literature is relatively recent. Shakespeare was a playwright, he was an actor, and he was a theatre owner. In modern parlance, Shakespeare was a cheap hack who was trying to make a buck. There was money to be made in writing plays and charging admission, and Shakespeare made money. He did so by appealing to the masses. He wrote about love, about power, about sex, about death, about everything that it means to be human.

It is a common misconception that you have to be smart to understand and enjoy Shakespeare’s writing. Most of his own audiences could not read or write, but they would laugh and cry along with each story as it unfolded. “but we don’t talk like that anymore” is a phrase that I hear from most people who say they don’t like Shakespeare’s plays. “Well,” I respond, “they didn’t talk like that during Shakespeare’s era either.” Yet, somehow, Shakespeare appealed to the educated and the illiterate of his own time. How? Shakespeare says the things we feel, but don’t know how to say. And if the words didn’t exist, he made up something that sounded right. Shakespeare’s works, like all plays, are meant to be seen and heard, not simply read. Shakespeare never said anything that we didn’t know; he just said it better than anyone else.

This production of Much Ado About Nothing for Quinnipiac’s Theater for Community embraces the idea that Shakespeare is for all of us.  Although these words were written over 400 years ago, they are still powerful today. It also embraces our sense of community. All too often, we forget about our immediate community—those around us, right now, in this very room. We are all her, breathing the same air, and sharing the same experience for about 90 minutes. This is not a presentation; it is an experience. We have a story to share with you, not for you. Besides, it’s a love story, and we all know what it’s like to be in love.  Take a look around; say hello to someone you’ve never met; you already have something in common.

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