Much Ado About Nothing

Book review by Deane Barker tags: fiction, theater, shakespeare

Wonderful play. I continue to be amazed at Shakespeare’s ability to write about the human condition, and have those observations be perfectly relevant 400 years later.

As with The Merchant of Venice I approached this holistically. I read the play first, which was difficult, then read a scene-by-scene analysis, then watched a college theater production, then a professional British production starring David Tennant, then the 1993 movie by Kenneth Branaugh, and I still have to tackle the 2011 version by Joss Wheldon.

The actual book I read (which I can’t find on Goodreads) had interviews with directors and actors/actresses of the play. Some of the insights are fascinating. What was the prior history of Bennedick and Beatrice? How many different ways can the line “Kill Claudio!” be delivered? Is Hero an inherently sexist character?

The book also contained a performance history, and it’s amazing the locales and settings the play has been transported to. Shakespeare set it in Sicily, but productions have ranged from Mexico in the 1800s, Cuba in the 1950s, Colonial India in the 1800s, and Wheldon’s movie puts it in the present day.

I’m trying to read one Shakespeare play every year. I was late with this one for 2015. I’ll do better next (this) year.

Book Info

William Shakespeare
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • A softcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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