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Players Present Shakespearean Comedy Much Ado About Nothing

Posted: May 4, 2017

The Blair Academy Players will present one of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, Much Ado About Nothing, on May 11, 12 and 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert J. Evans Open Air Theatre. In the case of inclement weather, the play will be presented in the nearby Dubois Theatre in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

The classic comedy concerns Benedick (played by Charlie Stafford ’17) and his love-hate relationship with Beatrice (performed by Emily Lunger ’17). Their “war of words” occurs in contrast to soon-to-be-wed young lovers Hero (played by Hannah Ochtera ’17) and Claudio (portrayed by Connor O’Neill ’18), who are assisted by Prince Don Pedro (played by Liam Heino ’17) in bringing Benedick and Beatrice together. Complicating matters is the Prince’s brother, Don John (portrayed by Ryan Gomez ’20) who conspires to break up the wedding by accusing Hero of infidelity. Hoping that his daughter’s honor is upheld is Leonato (played by Emmila Hastings ’17) and his brother Antonio (portrayed by student director Matt Bottone ’19). Standing up for justice is constable Dogberry (played by Ernesto Lippert ’18), who despite his and his men’s comedic bumbling, thwarts the wicked plot in the nick of time. By the end of the show, though, it all turns out to be "much ado about nothing.”

“We try to perform a Shakespearean play once every three or four years,” said director Craig Evans, who has taught theatre and English at Blair since 1994. “Experiencing a Shakespearean play in an outdoor setting—much like it was done at the original Globe Theatre—is one of the real treats of theatre at Blair.”

Mr. Evans added that this play introduced to audiences several comedic elements that have been popular for centuries, such as the battle of wits between the genders, dramatic irony and spoonerism. The audience will also enjoy poetry by the greatest playwright of all time. “We often celebrate Shakespeare’s tragedies, but his comedies are no less impressive and rich,” he said.

As this is the seniors’ final show at Blair, it is a bittersweet occasion for the older performers. “Some of the seniors have been in several shows in the outdoor theatre, yet, for some, it will be their first and last time, including Charlie, Emmila and Liam,” he added. “By the time they graduate this spring, our seniors will have portrayed roles in all three performing spaces—our main stage in DuBois Theatre, the black box Wean Theatre and the outdoor theatre—getting the complete theatrical experience that Blair can afford them. We will miss them next year and wish them all the best!”

Last Updated: May 17, 2017