Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is a romantic comedy that focuses on the confounding relationships between two Renaissance couples. Despite its lighthearted nature, the play makes use of deceit often. For example, Beatrice and Benedick’s relationship begins with friends deceiving them into thinking they love each other. The focus of our interpretations was then to explore the effect of time period/era on film, specifically the method by which Benedick is made to think Beatrice is in love with him. This in mind, we decided to direct and record both a modern and a 1920’s version of Act II Scene III.
Everyone has had an experience where a text message is ambiguous, or one in where we misunderstand the tone of a text. Our modern version of the play makes use of technology to fuel misunderstanding and deceit. Rather than overhearing a conversation while walking in a garden, modern day Benedick stumbles upon an unattended message box that happens to detail Beatrice’s undying love for him. Furthermore, instead of Beatrice calling Benedick to dinner in person, she does it through a text message. The alternating shots and voiceovers are then used to highlight contrast between Benedick’s over-interpretation of Beatrice’s messages and the actual tone of her voice.
Our 1920’s version was more true to Shakespeare’s original stage directions in that a hiding Benedick happens upon a conversation between Leonato and Don Pedro. Diction and idioms were changed to suit the time period, and Claudio and Leonato’s lines were combined in order to streamline the script. This allowed for more fluidity, cutting back and forth between two characters instead of three. Don Pedro and Leonato’s deceit through word of mouth serves as a sharp contrast to our modern version’s use of technology to deceive.
Daniel, Lawrence (Dan), Carly, Andre, Zhen (Jennifer)