Capitol Shakespeare’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing” will be performed nightly July 20-24 at 7 p.m. at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum's outdoor Prairie Amphitheater as part of the “Shaking Up Shakespeare” festival. Performances are free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs as no seating will be provided.
“Much Ado About Nothing” is believed to be written in 1598 or 1599, as Shakespeare was approaching mid-career. It was included in the First Folio of 1623, a rare copy the public can view in the free exhibit "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" at the ND Heritage Center & State Museum through July 31.
Among The Bard’s best comedies, “Much Ado About Nothing” combines robust merriment with more serious meditations about honor, shame, and court politics. In the play, Claudio and Hero are about to wed, but before they do, the couple conspires to match their quarrelsome friends, Beatrice and Benedick. There is love, deception, and a little heartbreak, all put to right with the wonderful words of Shakespeare.
“There is a reason we still read his plays today,” said Erin Weichel, play director and Capitol Shakespeare artistic director. “They are timeless and show us our humanity, our ability to love beyond all reason, and that emotions cannot be summed up in an emoji or snapchat. Shakespeare reminds us to slow down and listen to the beauty of our language.” This is the ninth season for Capitol Shakespeare.
Capitol Shakespeare’s seasoned acting troupe fills the cast with Austin Flemmer as Benedick, Brittany Smith as Beatrice, Brandon Wetch as Claudio, and Alicia Billock as Hero. Derek Pich portrays Don Pedro, and Charley S. Conner his brother Don John. Chad Litton is Leonato and Mark Hasbargen plays brother Antonio. Other cast members are Alexis Larson, Marete Snortland-Pich, Tim Rosin, Ty Betts, Cory Wardner, Dan Rogers, Rob Sandness, Robert Day, Stephanie Olson, and Christopher Koppinger.
The “Shaking Up Shakespeare” festival is presented by the State Historical Society of North Dakota in collaboration with Capitol Shakespeare. The festival also includes free Bard-related movies, a "History of Shakespeare in North Dakota" presentation, and a teacher workshop. For a full event schedule, visit history.nd.gov/shakespeare.
The North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit history.nd.gov or contact Erik Holland, curator of education, at 701.328.2792. Find a calendar of upcoming State Historical Society events at history.nd.gov/events.
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