Feb 052009
Authors: Laura James

The University Center for the Arts had their first public performance of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” Wednesday. The audience was “delighted” by this comedy for the lovers, and anyone else who enjoys a good story.

“This was a great production of Shakespeare,” said Christina Fontana, a junior theater major, “Dr. Prince is so well versed — it’s fun to see a show directed by somebody for whom Shakespeare is a strength.”

“Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps,”? said Hero, played by Joanna Sintek, a junior wildlife biology major.

So starts the intrigue of Shakespeare’s comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” a story that chronicles the unlikely love of Beatrice and Benedict, two witty and sarcastic characters who love to hate one another, and Hero and Claudio, two sentimental souls destined to be together.

“It’s the funniest thing ever, or all year for sure, I really loved it,” said sophomore English major Michelle Jones.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, lead actress Phoebe Piper said this weekend is the perfect time to take your special someone out to the theater, and “Much Ado” is the “perfect date for anybody.”

“You don’t have to love Shakespeare to have a great time at this play,” she said.

Eric Prince, the director of the play said “Much Ado” is a timeless piece, and this UCA rendition experiments with this timeless quality by placing Elizabethan Shakespeare in 1945 post-World War II California.

Like Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film “Romeo + Juliet” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes, the UCA has modernized this tale of love in an attempt to make Shakespeare hip and fun, Prince and actors said.

The task of making Shakespearean jests modern in sound and body language was not an easy one, and the cast of “Much Ado,” comprised of members of Dr. Prince’s advanced acting class, had barely three weeks of practice.

“The whole concept is really cool. We had a hard time preparing for it, but we had fun with it too,” said lead actor and CSU alumnus Matt Block who plays Benedict, “to practice we sent each other text messages in Elizabethan.”

While the performers said they faced plenty of challenges, audience members said they enjoyed the production.

“I thought the set was very beautiful,” said Joe Cobb, a senior photography student. “I can’t believe they got it together so quickly.”

Brittany Geiser, a senior sports medicine major, shared similar views.

“It was hilarious. It was so well put together — the set was awesome, the music was great, and Dogberry was amazing,” she said.

The remaining performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with Sunday shows at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 for students and can be purchased at the UCA box office before the performance, or at the Lory Student Center.

Staff writer Laura James can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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