Synopsis: Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s romantic comedies. With the encouragement of Don Pedro, a prince from Aragon, Claudio decides to romance Hero, and at a masquerade ball she accepts his hand in marriage. Don Pedro, impatient to wait the week for their wedding, sets forth as a matchmaker with the help of this couple, trying to set up Benedick and Beatrice (who constantly fight with each other). During this time, Don Pedro’s illegitimate half brother, Don John, works to deceive Claudio and trick him into believing Hero was unfaithful.
My thoughts: Though it’s an overused phrase, I think this is a play where lots of characters and situations are thrown together and “hilarity ensues.” Much Ado About Nothing is full of deception, plays on language (pay particular attention to names), and, of course, double entendres. This play was loads of fun to read, and I only wish I could see it performed sometime. At first it was a little difficult to keep all of the characters straight, but a few notes on a post-it took care of that. This is also a great play to read if you want to read one of the first examples (I believe) of the classic boy-and-girl-fight-a-lot then boy-and-girl-realize-they-have-feelings-for-one-another plot line.
After taking a course all about Shakespeare in the modern day, I’ve become absolutely intrigued by adaptations of Shakespeare’s works and references to Shakespeare in pop culture. So, for these Shakespearean Summer posts, I’ve decided to include other ways to take in Much Ado About Nothing. Here are a few of them:
Béatrice et Bénédict – A nineteenth-century opera by Berlioz that’s loosely based on Much Ado About Nothing. As you might guess by the title, this really focuses on the budding romance between Beatrice/ Béatrice and Benedick/ Bénédict, so the Hero’s supposed infidelity part doesn’t play a role in this opera. The overture is pretty well known :D
ShakespeaRe-Told – Recently discovered this series (thanks Jazz!). The Much Ado About Nothing episode is retold with anchors at a news station. The plot/big ideas seemed more or less consistent until the end.
The Boys Are Coming Home – A musical! Written a few years ago, I think (with admittedly mediocre music). This one’s a modern adaptation, moving the play to 1945 with soldiers returning from after World War II.