Friday, May 29, 2015

FREE - Stone Soup Shakespeare Presents Much Ado About Nothing

Sunday, May 31, 6:00 PM
Mineral Springs Park

Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing will be touring throughout the Midwest this spring, bringing Shakespeare in the Park to communities for free this May and early June and for the first time ever will be bringing the tour through Pekin, IL. The troupe will perform on Sunday, May 31 at Mineral Springs Park, next to the Pavilion on the Lagoon, at 6:00 PM in partnership with the Pekin Park District.  In case of rain, the performance will take place inside the Pavilion.

Tour director, Jeri Frederickson (Chicago) is setting this year’s performance in a punk world filled with rock ‘n’ roll, miscommunication and rash emotions. Jeri Frederickson joins Stone Soup Shakespeare from Chicago and brings with her expertise in Shakespeare, poetry and new play development. She is excited to bring Much Ado About Nothing claiming “it delights and tickles my funny bone while also showing me just how outrageous perfectly rational people can be.”

The play itself has been recently popularized by director Joss Whedon in a black and white contemporary film. There also exists a slightly older, but much revered, 1993 version featuring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson.  While Frederickson and company’s interpretation will be its own unique look at the story, the merriment and deception of the script that is so present in the film versions is just as present in Stone Soup Shakespeare’s outdoor production.

In keeping with the spirit of the children’s story, Stone Soup, from which the company takes its name, audience members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, which will be collected and donated, to The HOPE Chest.

Much Ado About Nothing has been popularized multiple times in film (a much revered 1993 version featuring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson and a more recent black and white version directed by Joss Whedon). The story is the ultimate romantic comedy involving jealousy, deceit and ultimately love.

Don Pedro and Don John (siblings) have just finished fighting one another in a small war. Don Pedro, reconciled with her brother brings her troupes and Don John to Messina and the home of Leonato. There Count Claudio falls instantly in love with Leonato’s daughter Hero and they plan to get married. Benedick (another of Don Pedro’s men) is also in tow and revives a former battle of wits with Beatrice (Leonato’s niece). Don Pedro, Claudio, Hero and Leonato all decide to trick Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love. With antics and wedding plans on the brain all seems happy until Don John executes his revenge.

Don John tricks Claudio into thinking Hero is unfaithful to him and because of this Claudio cancels the wedding and exposes Hero’s presumed infidelity at the ceremony. Hero passes out, Leonato rages and Beatrice requests Benedick kill Claudio.  With all the “ado” Detective Dogberry, head of Leonato’s Watch, is left to uncover what really happened. Eventually the Watch capture Don John’s henchman, report the wrongdoing and, through a bit of trickery and veils, all couples come together with promises of vows and reaffirmations of love.

The cast includes: Laila Abdo (Don Pedro), Kim Curlee (Leonato), Emily Green (Hero/Dogberry)(Millikin ’06), Ken Miller (Benedick)(Millikin ’10), Ryan Negron (Claudio), Julia Stemper (Beatrice), Brittany Stock (Margaret/Priest) and Dan Wenzel, Jr. (Don John).

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