Shakespeare takes the stage at the Stone

November 8, 2007

by Brenda Lepenski

The Stone Theatre was taken over at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 by Mafia dressed in black suits.

Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” directed by Don Stevens, instructor and technical director of the School of Performing Arts, took on a mafia theme with guns and knives.

In addition to the Mafia theme, the play also included an original song, “It’s Too Soon,” by Toni Brown, a senior music major. Joe Alexander, an assistant professor of low brass, music theory and composition, composed music to some of Shakespeare’s works, as did Brown, Tracy Reeves and Carly Sanders, all three senior music majors.
Helen Armstrong, a senior theater major and an assistant director of the play, said the show’s debut was a success.

“The interesting thing about theater is that it’s always different every time, so you can go in there and expect something. In the end it could be exactly what you expected or nothing like you expected,” she said. “This theater never ceases to amaze me, and tonight’s show was absolutely wonderful and amazing.”

Students had similar responses about the play.

Megan Kristen, a senior marketing major, came to the performance said she thought the actors’ performance was on an expert level.

“It’s very professional. I’ve been to Little Theater in Monroe and it’s on par with them,” Kristen said.

Diane Didier, a sophomore psychology major, said she enjoyed the performance and the Mafia theme.

“I noticed all the actors are very well rehearsed and they’re all very professional,” Didier said. “The story was cute, it was kind of a romantic comedy but [it was also] dangerous because you have the gangster-type people.”

Didier also said students would be able to identify with “Much Ado About Nothing” because of the relationships that come into play.

“I think people can identify with this play because we all experience some type of relationship problems or might have had people try to break us up,” Didier said.

Victoria Garcia, a sophomore sociology major, said although the play maintained its original language it was still easy to understand.

“I [liked] it because I tend to understand it a little better than the usual Shakespeare plays,” Garcia said. “Maybe it’s just the way it’s presented.”

Audiences were able to see who the good and bad characters were based on the color of their costumes. The bad characters wore black suits with blue shirts while the good characters wore the same suits with red shirts.

Garcia said the costuming made Shakespeare’s traditional play more contemporary.

“The costumes are set nowadays; they’re in suits and tuxes. You know it’s not like Shakespearian times; they [made it more modern],” Garcia said.

Forrest Heintz, a sophomore aviation major, said he enjoyed the humor that was incorporated into the play.

“I thought it was classical Shakespeare, modernized. I liked the fact that they had lots of funny jokes that they added in without it necessarily being written in the script,” Heintz said. “I just thought it was an all-around good show.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” will continue to take the stage unitl the final performance Saturday.