MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
|By William Shakespeare
Directed by Lisa Thrower and Andrew Fletcher
Wednesday 22 November to
Saturday 25 November 2017
Rondo Theatre, Bath
At The Drama Hut, Vane Street, Bath
|Sunday 2nd April, 10am||Monday 3rd April, 7:30pm|
This autumn RTC will bring one of Shakespeare’s best-known comedies to the Rondo stage in an exciting and vibrant production. We are updating the setting to mid-war England – think returning RAF officers on leave, land girls and home guard, all of which should accentuate the comedy and make for a visual spectacle.
There are lots of parts for men and women of all ages so please do come along to our open auditions. There is nothing at all to prepare, but familiarity with the plot and characters would be helpful. You can read a short plot synopsis http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/muchado/summary.html .
A brief description of the characters is below. We haven’t included playing ages as, although we’ll be aiming to fit with what feels right for the period, it will depend on the mix of actors available and creating the right dynamic. Regardless of age, there are plenty of opportunities for men and women and for women to play some of the traditional male roles.
If you have any questions or would like to audition but are not able to make either date, please contact Lisa Thrower on 07738 964 094 or Andy Fletcher on 07979 531130.
You are very welcome to attend both auditions as it will help us see people play off each other, but you won’t be penalised if you can only make one!
Beatrice – Leonato’s niece and Hero’s cousin. Beatrice is “a pleasant-spirited lady” with a very sharp tongue. She is generous and loving, but, like Benedick, continually mocks other people with elaborately tooled jokes and puns. She wages a war of wits against Benedick and often wins the battles. At the outset of the play, she appears content never to marry.
Hero – The beautiful young daughter of Leonato and the cousin of Beatrice. Hero is lovely, gentle, and kind. She falls in love with Claudio when he falls for her, but when Don John slanders her and Claudio rashly takes revenge, she suffers terribly.
Leonato – A respected, well-to-do, land-owning farmer at whose estate the action is set. Leonato is the father of Hero and the uncle of Beatrice. The character that helps link all the episodes of the play together.
Margaret – Hero’s serving woman, who unwittingly helps Borachio and Don John deceive Claudio into thinking that Hero is unfaithful. Unlike Ursula, Hero’s other lady-in-waiting, Margaret is lower class. Though she is honest, she does have some dealings with the villainous world of Don John: her lover is the mistrustful and easily bribed Borachio. Also unlike Ursula, Margaret loves to break decorum, especially with bawdy jokes and teases.
Antonio – Leonato’s brother and Hero’s uncle.
Ursula – One of Hero’s waiting women, who is key to the ‘gulling’ scene, convincing Beatrice that Benedict is in love with her.
Friar Francis – The local priest who is to perform the marriage of Hero and Claudio. Friar Francis proposes the scheme to hide Hero after her denunciation, pretending she is dead.
RAF contingent on leave:
Benedick – An aristocratic officer who has recently been serving under Don Pedro, and a friend of Don Pedro and Claudio. Benedick is very witty, always making jokes and puns. He carries on a “merry war” of wits with Beatrice, but at the beginning of the play he swears he will never fall in love or marry.
Claudio – A young officer who has won great acclaim serving in Don Pedro’s unit during the war. Claudio falls in love with Hero upon his return to Leonato’s estate. His unfortunately suspicious nature makes him quick to believe evil rumours and hasty to despair and take revenge.
Don Pedro – A senior RAF officer (in our production), Don Pedro is a long-time friend of Leonato, Hero’s father, and is also close to the officers who have been fighting under him. Don Pedro is generous, courteous, intelligent, and loving to his friends, but he is also quick to believe evil of others and hasty to take revenge. He is the most politically and socially powerful character in the play.
Balthasar – A musician who sings the song, “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more” about accepting men’s infidelity as natural.
Don John – The illegitimate brother of Don Pedro; sometimes called “the Bastard.” Don John is melancholy and sullen by nature, and he creates a dark scheme to ruin the happiness of Hero and Claudio. He is the villain of the play; his evil actions are motivated by his envy of his brother’s social authority.
Borachio – An associate of Don John. Borachio is the lover of Margaret, Hero’s serving woman. He conspires with Don John to trick Claudio and Don Pedro into thinking that Hero is unfaithful to Claudio. His name means “drunkard” in Italian, which might serve as a subtle direction to the actor playing him.
Conrad – One of Don John’s more intimate associates, entirely devoted to Don John. Several recent productions have staged Conrad as Don John’s potential male lover, possibly to intensify Don John’s feelings of being a social outcast and therefore motivate his desire for revenge.
Dogberry – The constable in charge of the Watch, or in our case Captain of the local Home Guard. The unwitting clown of the piece.
Verges – The deputy to Dogberry – his comic foil.
The Watch – The words and actions of the watch make them seem more alert and intelligent than Dogberry and Verges. After all, they overhear Don John’s plot with Borachio, report the misdeed, and provide testimony that convicts Borachio and ultimately Don John.
Sexton – A public official who records the testimony in a trial.