published Friday, March 25th, 2011

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ full of energy


* What: “Much Ado About Nothing.”

* When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

* Where: First Baptist Church (fellowship hall), 401 Gateway Ave.

* Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students.

* Phone: 265-2257.

Ah, spring, where thoughts turn to love or, at least, the battle of the sexes.

“Much Ado About Nothing,” the Shakespearean comedy that opens tonight at First Baptist Church, has such a subject.

The play is a co-production between Shakespeare Chattanooga and the church’s Dessert Theatre.

While some of the Bard’s works are not appropriate for a church setting, according to director Janis Hashe, “Much Ado About Nothing” is not only a suitable vehicle but “a great spring play. There’s so much spring energy to it.”

In the play, young lovers Hero and Claudio are set to be married but, to pass the time, they plan a little mischief with Don Pedro concerning confirmed bachelor Benedick and confirmed bachelorette Beatrice. In the meantime, Don John has a little mischief in mind for the original couple.

Hashe said audiences for the show might include people from Shakespearean experts to people who have never seen a Shakespearean play.

For the latter group, she said, “it will be almost like viewing a play in a second language.”

Fortunately, said Hashe, “the comedy is full of wackiness.” The character of Dogberry and his crew, she said, even border on slapstick comedy with their malapropisms and other antics.

In addition, she said, the actions of Beatrice and Benedick make it “pretty obvious what is going on with them. They are a powerful man and woman attracted to each other but don’t want to admit it.”

As is typical for Shakespeare Chattanooga productions, the stage is fairly empty except a few set pieces and the concept costumes are simple.

“We’re focusing on the action and the text,” Hashe said.

Adding to this production is music designed for the show. A choral quartet sings to extant tunes, and the result is “quite beautiful,” Hashe said.

The comedy is best viewed by teenagers and up, but she said younger people with an aptitude for Shakespeare or a love for theater will enjoy it.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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