Classics Retold

[Classics Retold] Much Ado About Nothing

classicsretoldThe Classics Retold project was inspired by Project: Fairy Tale. Simply choose a classic work of literature, and explore all of its sequels, retellings, reinterpretations. How you do this is completely up to you–character analyses and liveblogging can mix with reviews of the texts and/or films. September 2013 is when it all goes down!

Strange as it may seem, I grew up disliking Shakespeare’s comedies. Despite my appreciation for the happy endings prevalent in children’s literature and films, tragedies were far more appealing, and the Bard was no exception. I flew through the pages of King Lear, Julius Caesar and the like with a single-minded purpose: to touch sadness in all its incarnations, and to recognize it in myself for the sake of art.

(I was a very strange child.)

Much_Ado_Quarto (1)Which begs the question–why Much Ado About Nothing? True, this play is one that elicits knee-slapping laughter with its ingenious commentary on the relationships between men and women. But where it soars with humour, it also pulses with a deep and complex sadness brought on by doubt, insecurity and betrayal. Perfection can be shot full of holes, and certainty can be riddled with pockets of hubris. Shakespeare handles these themes with unmatched wit and intelligence, along with that indomitable belief in things being set right in the end.

Over the next four weeks, I will be exploring the different forms that this classic has taken on, both in film and stage. The text provides but a set for actors to inhabit, and I will be featuring several standout performances and how they have added to the richness of the play and its various thematic intepretations. From Kenneth Branagh’s highly praised film to stage productions helmed by the Stratford Festival to Catherine Tate and David Tennant’s 80s take on the play, I hope to bring this “merry war” to life through the month of September, and share my love for Beatrice and Benedict.

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