The versatility of Shakespeare was demonstrated last weekend in Langley High School’s modern version of the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Set in Messina Sands (a fictional Floridian beach), the he said/ she said tale follows the romantic relationships between our protagonists Beatrice and Benedick, and their friends Hero and Claudio. Beatrice and Benedick, against strident oaths not to marry, fall madly in love after they are trapped by friends. Tension continues to grow throughout the play until finally they must admit their feelings publicly. On the other hand, Hero and Claudio plan a hasty marriage until Hero is framed as being unfaithful. But in the end, all ends happily with the promise of not only one, but two weddings.
Langley’s updated production was a fresh take on the classic that was anchored by the actors’ ability to convey the meaning behind sometimes difficult language. Witty banter and playful jokes were delivered clearly and earnestly.
Maddie Wise as Beatice, and her counterpart Peter Wiese as the comical Benedick set the pace for this clever production. The actors were equally able and genuine in their winning performances.
On a whole the supporting actors and actresses added depth and comedy to the production. Although some struggled at times with communicating the meaning behind the complicated lines, these moments were almost always illuminated soon after. Also, on stage, actors in larger and smaller roles helped to call attention back to the modern setting as they were in character at all times.
Costumes and makeup were integral to expressing the setting and time period of the play successfully. These aspects of the production also added to the characterization of several characters because of their agreement with the characters’ personalities. Light and sound were faulty several times, including mistimed spotlights. Overcoming this, the cast usually projected themselves well enough to be heard well.
Langley’s up-to-date version kept the light-heartedness of “Much Ado About Nothing” in mind in their amusing production this Saturday night.
Cappies is a high school critics and awards program involving 50 schools in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. areas.