Gordon Barr's adaptation of Shakespeare's classic romcom, Much Ado About Nothing, sweeps onto the Vault Theater stage this July, opening Bag&Baggage's 2019-2020 Season in colorful, campy fashion.
One of Shakespeare’s highly-regarded “middle comedies”, Much Ado About Nothing is reputed for the dynamic witty banter between its main characters, Benedick and Beatrice, and their unique anti-love story which ultimately sees these reluctant lovers bond in a meeting of the minds. An alternately more frothy and tragic subplot involves the more traditional lovers, Claudio and Hero, who become entangled in the misanthropic schemes of the dastardly Don John. As in any good Shakespearean comedy, all the wrongs are righted in the end, providing a “happily ever after” that feels more significant following the overcoming of these obstacles.
The structure of the Much Ado storyline remains intact in this streamlined adaptation by Barr, which premiered in 2013 at Bard in the Botanics in Glasgow, Scotland, where Barr serves as Artistic Director. “The major difference,” explains Greer, “is that Gordon takes the lead romantic character, Beatrice, and turns her into Bertram, giving us a queer relationship at the center of this love story. This little change opens the door for us to think much more expansively about our entire approach to sexuality and gender identity, using this play as a vehicle to invite our audiences to reconsider the traditional binaries presented by our society.” With help from designers Melissa Heller (costumes), Tyler Buswell (scenic), and Gabriel Costales (lighting), B&B’s Much Ado lifts the story into a hyper-modern reality, governed by the “camp” sensibility and punctuated with aesthetic flair.
Photo Credits: Casey Campbell