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Redwood Bark

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EPiC’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

A Shakespearean comedy with an 80’s twist

Premiering on March 20th, Redwood’s Ensemble Production Company (EPiC) put on a three-day live showing of the Shakespearean comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.” The production offered complimentary tickets to students, prompting one of the biggest audiences since COVID-19, which was encouraging for the actors, especially to those entering a new role.

The play’s plot follows a scandal between Hero and Claudio, but also the wars between Beatrice, Hero’s cousin, and Benedick, Claudio’s friend. Beatrice is duped into thinking that Benedick and her are in love. 

Dancing at the masquerade ball scene, the cast synchronically joins together under fluorescent lights.

 

Junior Sydney Brodie plays Beatrice, the outgoing main character. She wears bright neon clothes and big hoops, a classic 80s theme throughout. Brodie was nervous to take on such a prominent role but she ultimately flourished and evolved as an actress.

“My favorite part [of playing Beatrice] was to get out of my comfort zone because I am usually pretty reserved but [in this play], I was able to express myself in different ways and play a character that I grew to love,” Brodie said.

She states the importance of an audience and how exciting it was to have such a big turnout at the play. 

“Without an audience, the show is nothing,” Brodie said.

Not only did she take on a significant role but there was also a lot of work behind the scenes leading up to the play. The script also required a significant amount of fine-tuning.  

Sydney Brodie portrays the cheerful and stubborn Beatrice, who is facing a love conflict with the cocky Benedick played by Sam Hjemstad.

 

 “It was challenging having to keep up with all the work that [we] had to put into [the script]. We had to cut down the [Shakespearean] script to fit into one class period, so we had to collaborate on how we wanted to still convey the story but not have all the content,” Brodie said.  

The EPiC script, which has original roots from when it was written by Shakespeare in 1612, still captures the authentic Shakespeare language but with an ’80s comical twist. From the bright and colorful set with neon pink and green drinks and pool floats to the energetic and upbeat music throughout the play, it felt exciting to the audience. 

The actors began rehearsing for the play, directed by Elene Wright, in January, working three to four days a week. Wright reflects on the excitement of watching the EPiC students lean into their characters. 

“I love directing Shakespeare with young people because I know that they can d

o it. And [I love] watching them go from not knowing what’s happening or what they’re saying to enjoying it. [The actors] embodying it and having fun doing it was really fun for me [to see],” Wright said. 

Dogberry, the watch-guard (left) and Leonardo, the father of Hero (right), hold the cake for Hero and Claudio’s wedding.

Additionally, Wright believes it is crucial to be familiar with Shakespeare’s plays. They state that in creating a script from the Shakespearean language, 

“You have to be able to break down complex text and figure out how to make it live. So if you can do that, then you can take it into musical theater, you can take it into film acting, you can take it anywhere,” Wright said. 

Writing and acting with such an unfamiliar type of script can be tough for young actors.

“It was challenging having to keep up with all the work that you had to put into it, all the hours of rehearsal. We also had to cut down the [Shakespeare] script to fit into one class period, so we had to collaborate on how we wanted to still convey the story but not have all the content,” Brodie said.

Despite the challenges, the audience loved the engaging and hilarious jokes incorporated into the play. 

 “But [the play is] not just words. It’s words and actions, words and physicality, words and full body belief and commitment and what you’re doing. And when you bring the heart and the soul and the brain and the mind all together, you get this complete thing,” Wright said.

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About the Contributors
Tessa Marshall
Tessa Marshall, Reporter
Tessa Marshall is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism and Media program . She enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with her friends.
Skyla Thomas
Skyla Thomas, Reporter
Skyla Thomas is a junior at Redwood High School and she is part of AJAM (Advanced Journalism Arts and Media). She loves running cross country, watching sunset, and traveling to new places.