The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1770  Wednesday, 20 October 1999.

From:           Marilyn Bonomi <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 13:55:05 -0000
Subject:        Long Wharf Theatre Production of Much Ado

Surely I'm not the only SHAKSPER member in or near the Greater New Haven
area?  I'd love to hear others' takes on the current production there.

The concept sets Much Ado in a fictional Harlem Renaissance, where the
music and the clothing of the mid-late 20's has appeared in 1918 as the
boys come home from war.

And obviously there is a virtually all Black cast.

Many things worked well for me; many other things did not.

The biggest flaw for me was the lack of modulation; essentially every
speech by every player (except as noted below) was at full-throat.  What
got lost was the soft, perhaps even sappy nature of both Ben. and Bea.
that they are struggling so valiantly to mask with wit and caustic
remarks.  I never believed in them, as I most certainly DID believe in
Hero and Claudio.  They were the high point to me... the pain w/ which
Claudio both attacks and longs for Hero in the wedding denouncement
scene was among the most convincingly poignant variations on that theme
I've seen.  They had the range of volume AND emotion that I look for in
a well-done play.

LOVED the set; the Art Deco was grandly carried off.  Costumes were
okay; I liked the subtle touch that the fancy dresses had mini-hip-hoops
to hint at Elizabethan costuming.

But for the most part, though I admired elements, I did not come away
convinced by the whole.

I'm not much of a reviewer; I'd love to hear from those of you who saw
the production and can more effectively write about it.

Marilyn B.

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