Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ opens Sept. 28

By | September 21, 2018 3:25 pm

“Much Ado About Nothing” cast members prepare for Shakespeare in the Park, a free nightly event Sept. 28-Oct. 6 at Dogwood Park. (Photo by Holly Mills)

William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” is coming to the stage at Dogwood Park.

The comedy, directed by Kimberly Frick-Welker, opens Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. and continues nightly through Oct. 6 during Cookeville Leisure Services’ 15th annual Shakespeare in the Park. Admission is free.

“In this play you have the delightful characters of Benedick and Beatrice, who are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and the gullible, love-struck Claudio who is tricked into rejecting beautiful Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful,” Frick-Welker said. “At the end, Benedick and Beatrice join forces to set things right.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” is thought to have been written 1598-99. Its title has two meanings: Much Ado About Nothing (a big fuss over nothing) and Much Ado Over Noting (misinterpreting what one sees and hears).

“In Shakespeare’s time, ‘nothing’ sounded similar to ‘noting’ (gossip, rumor, overhearing),” she said.

What’s special about Shakespeare in the Park?

“Outdoor theatre taps into all our senses, which is what makes Shakespeare in the Park so exciting for actor and audience,” Frick-Welker said. “There is a unique, palpable energy not found inside a theatre.”

Plus, the event is free and family friendly.

“It’s not uncommon to see hundreds of people in the park each night, with lawn chairs and blankets and coats,” Frick-Welker said. “Many bring thermoses and picnic baskets.”

This year’s show features 26 actors – many of them new faces on the Dogwood Park stage – and more than 30 people working behind the scenes.

Cast members have been meeting since June to prepare for their roles.

“Performing in any theatrical endeavor requires a huge commitment, but for actors new to Shakespeare there’s the additional challenge of learning Shakespearean text,” Frick-Welker said.

Among those making the show possible are costume designer Anthony Herd and set designer Jim White.

“Much Ado About Nothing” runs approximately two and a half hours. Narrators will guide audience members through scenes with short and fun plot summaries.

Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Concessions will be available.

For more information about Shakespeare in the Park, call the Cookeville Performing Arts Center at (931) 528-1313.

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