A group of Ridgewood artists are bringing a classic Shakespeare play to life right in their own backyards this weekend, with a slight twist.
After putting on three successful backyard performances of William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” in her backyard on Grove Street from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, director Katy Early decided to get the cast and crew back together for an encore performance on Sunday, Oct. 22.
Early said she and her four apartment-mates, who all studied theater together in college, wanted to work on something together, rather than each of them focusing on their own separate projects.
“’Much Ado’ immediately came to mind given that it takes place in a house and a garden and we all have loved the play for years,” Early explained. “We’re specifically interested in the elements of the play that make it feel like a cross between a comedy and a problem play, similar to Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale.’”
In this adaption, however, the play will be focusing on the characters of Claudio and Hero, instead of the traditional love story between Beatrice and Benedick. Early wants to bring out how the “quirky” community of Messina handles Claudio’s public shaming of his bride-to-be, Hero.
“That’s what I was interested in bringing out,” Early said. “So I hope our audiences not only enjoy the elements of the play that are traditionally entertaining but also note these important themes; there is so much discussion of gender in the play and the ways in which we as community members ‘misnote’ or misunderstand each other.”
The cast and crew of the backyard performance are:
- Beatrice – Lizzie Roberts;
- Benedick – Hayes Biche;
- Claudio – Igor R Correa Wetter;
- Hero – Molly Bennett;
- Don Pedro – Arif Silverman;
- Leonato – Tae Braun;
- Margaret – Erin Amlicke;
- Don John – Hunter Wolfson;
- Borachio – Andrew Bell;
- Friar Francis/Watchman – Eve Kummer-Landau;
- Ursula/Conrade – Allie Willison;
- Dogberry/Messenger – Julia Melfi;
- Antonio/Verges – Alex Bernui;
- Directed by Katy Early;
- Assistant directed by Alex Bernui; and
- Original composition and sound design by Arif Silverman.