Oyku Cicek Butun Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
A Shakespeare play titled “Much Ado about Nothing”- guessed to be written in 1598 or 1599 and performed first in 1612, was performed in Dubai on the 25th to the 28th of September. The play is a comedy set in Messina- a port on the island of Sicily, which is next to the toe of Italy. The play takes place mainly in the home of Leonato, during the 16th century.
The play starts with Hero (Leonato’s daughter). Her cousin Beatrice, and Leonato are conversing about the soon to arrive don Pedro and his companions. The play does not wait and quickly dives into its comedic expectation. Beatrice imitating don Pedro’s companion Benedict, A great quality of the play is foreshadowing. Beatrice a newly met character is speaking of a character that isn’t even present.
Since Beatrice starts the topic, it indicates a clear relationship between these two characters. The comedic aspects continue as don Pedro and his companions arrive. Benedict and Beatrice have a mocking bicker. The energy between the characters as well as the actors is greatly done. The scenes with these two actors are hilarious, making the audience wait in anticipation for them to emerge.
However, it is hard to understand the place of his companions right away. Other characters; Claudio and Don John are also shown upon the arrival of don Pedro. Don Pedro appears to be the eldest while Don John is the youngest brother. One issue seen in the play is the absence of the villain who is Don John. It is hard to notice him at first, he is pretty unseen until he expresses his anger and frustration towards the power his brothers have. Unlike his brother, he is not as glorified, to say the least.
The night of the arrival there is a mask party, where characters wear a mask and celebrate. Claudio who has fallen in love with Hero, has made a plan before the party, with Don Pedro. Don Pedro talks to Hero and walks away with her.
This is when the villain takes his first step and tell his brother Claudio that Don Pedro has taken Hero for himself. Claudio gets very upset but soon it is revealed that there was no such case and at the end of the night Claudio and Hero are arranged for marriage.
The contrast between comedy and slight drama makes for an intriguing and addictive play, however, it was quite difficult to recognize the characters in certain areas as the character had no one consistent physical quality that made them distinctive to the audience.
The play got harder to follow after the announcement of marriage. After the declaration, Don John plans a way of ruining the marriage. He determines that making Hero seem as she was not faithful will surely make his brother back out of the ceremony.
Hero’s maid Margaret is seduced by Balthasar who works for Don John. Margaret speaks with Balthasar through Hero’s window and Claudio assumes Hero is involved with another man. The play is hard to follow caused by the time not being delivered. The play lacks greatly on what has happened before, after as well as showing when a character learned or saw a particular event.
After this point in the play, the objective of characters shifts as almost all are happy about the marriage. The characters focus on bringing Benedict and Beatrice together, they deceive them through making each of them think the other possesses feelings. These scenes are by far the best in the play. They are funny and evokes curiosity on potential outcomes.
Another scene that is truly representative of comedy is the night police hearing drunk Balthasar admit his evil doings. The two police are clumsy and are not the best but their attitude is surely comedic gold. The play wraps up with every confusion and misleading point being cleared up, it ends on a very happy note.
The happy ending can be pleasing and bring closure for many, but compared to Shakespeare’s other plays the ending was not impactful. Shakespeare’s plays typically show the reality and harsh truth of life, but this play for me did not have a memorable ending. In general the play lived up to its expectations, with authentic shakespearean language and correctly placed comedy.