Benedick and Beatrice trade barbs and match wits under the Theater Tent:
Scandal abounds in Shakespeare’s hilarious, biting comedy about lies, courtship, and the chaos created in pursuit of true love. The famous bantering lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, trade barbs while matching wits (and hearts) in this celebrated romantic romp.
Explore the Story
Prince Don Pedro’s army makes a triumphant return home from the war. Benedick and Claudio, two of the prince’s soldiers, visit the home of Duke Leonato for a celebratory masked ball. Claudio falls for Leonato’s daughter, Hero, and the prince agrees to woo her in disguise on his behalf. Claudio and Hero’s marriage is soon arranged.
Hero’s cousin Beatrice and the dashing Benedick, on the other hand, are fiercely opposed to love, swearing off marriage and railing against courtship in all forms. The two resume their long-waged war of wits, and as insults fly, Benedick and Beatrice’s friends hatch a plot to trick them into falling in love with each other.
Meanwhile, the prince’s misanthropic brother Don John hatches a plot of his own, leading Claudio to believe that his beloved Hero has been unfaithful on the eve of their wedding. At the ceremony, Claudio publicly denounces her and she faints amid the chaos. Leonato and the Friar agree to fake Hero’s death, and Beatrice demands that Benedick avenge her by killing Claudio.
A bumbling constable and his watchmen uncover Don John’s malicious trick, and the conspiracy is exposed. To make amends, Claudio promises Leonato that he will marry one of Hero’s cousins in her place. As the couple approaches the alter, one final deception leads everyone to a fresh understanding of the truth.
Cast & Creative
Margaret Kendall Cafaro
Beatrice Tina Chilip*
Ursula, Seacole Kayla Coleman
Messenger, Oatcake Jon Edward Cook
Verges Brandon Dial
Leonato Michael Early*
Claudio José Gamo
Antonio, Sexton Stephen Paul Johnson*
Don Pedro Sean McNall*
Dogberry, Friar Kurt Rhoads*
Borachio Timiki Salinas
Benedick Charlie Semine*
Don John, Watchman Stephen Michael Spencer*
Hero Alexandra Templer*
Conrade Ryan Washington
Director May Adrales
Associate Director Brian McManamon
Costume Designer Valérie Thérèse Bart
Lighting Designer Oona Curley
Sound Designers Nathan A. Roberts and Charles Coes
Composer Nellie McKay
Choreographer Tracy Bersley
Fight Director Rod Kinter
Props Designer Joshua Yocom
Production Stage Manager Roxana Khan*
SDCF Observer Anna Strasser
Voice and Speech Coach Alithea Phillips
Casting Stephanie Klapper Casting
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
(cc) Member of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Conservatory Company
Much Ado About Nothing was written between 1598 and 1599. Elements of the play, such as the Hero-Claudio plot, were likely drawn from Greek, Spanish, or Italian romances, or from earlier English works.
Much has been written about the multiple meanings of “nothing” and “noting,” which would have been pronounced similarly in Shakespeare’s day. “Noting” can refer to gossip or overhearing — which plays a pivotal role throughout the play, leading to betrayal and renewal (in Hero’s case) and love (in Benedick and Beatrice’s case) — or the written word, as Leonato instructs Claudio to lay a hand-written statement on Hero’s tomb proclaiming her innocence.
Q & A
Can I read the play before I arrive?
You can read the play in its entirety here!
Is this show appropriate for my children?
Much Ado About Nothing includes playful discussion of adult courtship and references to infidelity. Although every family’s tolerance for grown-up themes is different, we believe this production is appropriate for school-aged children. Little ones under 5 should stay home.
How can I learn more about the play?
What’s the style of the show?
Productions under the Theater Tent usually incorporate contemporary music and dress because we believe creating pathways for audiences to make personal connections to the text is vital. Much Ado’s style of music and costume design are loosely rooted in 1950s America.
How long is the show?
This production, including a 15-minute intermission, runs approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes (7:30pm – 10:10pm).
Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing Act 5, Scene II