Much Ado About Nothing (2000)
Directed by Matthew Bartlett
Lovers of Shakespeare seem to divide roughly into two camps. Those who loathe the very idea of doing anything with the plays except perform them in contemporary Shakespearean fashion, contest furiously with those who argue that their very brilliance enables them to speak across cultures, periods and fashions, finding relevance wherever they touch down.
It is the job of a director to meet a text on its own terms; to examine the issues of character and plot therein and, with the cast, to create a world on stage which answers those issues and exists purely for itself. As such we ask you not merely to suspend your powers of disbelief, but to actively engage your powers of belief in the world we have created. Surely what matters is not what this group of princes and lords is wearing, but what they say and how they behave? Concentrate on this, and the staging becomes irrelevant.
To some extent, all of Shakespeare's plays have internal problems of staging, character and plot. In order to succeed, firm decisions have to be made about key moments of character and plot development. The less obvious they are - the more successful we have been. We are lucky with Much Ado About Nothing in that it contains very few such headaches but there are some, and we have to deal with them as we see fit in the knowledge that they could not be ignored - you can decide for yourselves whether we are successful.
- Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon - Chris Bennett
- Don John, his bastard brother - Alan Walker
- Count Claudio of Florence - Jack King
- Benedick of Padua - James Newall
- Leonato, Governor of Messina - Stiofan O'Sullibhan
- Antonio, his brother - Mike Smart
- Hero, Leonato's daughter - Lisa Marsh
- Beatrice, Leonato's niece - Helen Chadney
- Ursula - Lorraine Pither
- Margaret - Kelli Halpin
- Friar Francis - Mark Beavon
- Borachio - Craig Carruthers
- Conrade - Stewart Barham
- Balthasar - John Paul Miles
- Dogberry, a police inspector - Alan Buckman
- Verges, his side-kick - Malcolm Woodman
- The Watch - Ricky Cannon+, Andy Smith, Pat Laban
- The Sexton - David Ford
- Production Assistant - Fleur Hogarth
- Stage Manager - Jessica Osorio
- Assistant Stage Manager - Pat Laban
- Set Designer - Alan Buckman
- Costumes - Jenny Newstead
- Lighting Design - Keefe Browning
- Sound Designer - Ian Mill
- Prompt - Rosie McKeown
- Trees created by - Val Williams
- Set Construction - Alan Buckman, Helen Chadney, Jack King, Anton Krause, Andrew Rickinson
- Photography by - Andrew Rickinson
- Songs set to music by - John Paul Miles
- Wardrobe Assistant - Mary Garner
- Crucifix painted by Andy Smith (After that in San Miniato al Monte in Florence).
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Reminiscences and Anecdotes
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