Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Nov. 8, 2015

All smiles in "Much Ado about Nothing"

by Amalia Chiapperino, Online Managing Editor
Blair theater has delivered another fantastic production in its fall play, "Much Ado About Nothing". With a stellar cast and crew, and a creative twist, the theater department showcased this celebrated Shakespeare comedy in the best possible light.

Directors Kelly and John O'Connor added a new element to this classic play, incorporating Mexican culture and traditional Mexican music and dance for a refreshing and creative flair. The lifelike set also reflects this thematic twist. Set designer Dio Cramer meticulously executed a flawless and intricate set, complete with a working fountain, painted Spanish tiles, and vibrant chains of paper flowers. The set is centered on a stucco-like house that is authentic in its appearance down to the terra cotta roof design. But the set is only one of many factors that contribute to this production's success.
The vibrant music and costuming in "Much Ado About Nothing", when coupled with a talented cast and beautiful set, make for a highly engrossing and entertaining production. Donald De Alwis
The vibrant music and costuming in "Much Ado About Nothing", when coupled with a talented cast and beautiful set, make for a highly engrossing and entertaining production.

The cast plays a crucial role as well, brilliantly executing each and every line, and eliciting a lot of laughs along the way. The play opens in the town of Messina, where a wealthy nobleman, Leonato (Derek Lamb/Brian Morris) is paid a visit by a good friend and prince Don Pedro (Luc Daniel/Sam Newman), and his entourage, which includes well-liked noblemen Claudio (Emmett Adler/Eli Cohen) and Benedick (Jack Russ/Henry Wiebe). Claudio quickly falls in love with Leonato's kind and gentle daughter, Hero (Karuna Nandkumar/Abby Rowland).

Meanwhile Don Pedro and Leoneato, with help from Hero and a few others, conspire to bring together Leonato's stubborn and clever niece, Beatrice (Cameron Bauserman/Lucy Glenshaw) with the witty and charming Benedick, who quarrel incessantly with each other rather than admit their true feelings. Trouble ensues, however, when Don Pedro's illegitimate brother Don John (Noah Friedlander/Cole Sebastian) reveals a dastardly plot to prevent Hero and Claudio's union.

As with most Shakespeare comedies, "Much Ado about Nothing" is chock full of comedic elements, including secret plots, cases of mistaken identity, lies, and, of course, love stories. The cast performs superbly, keeping the audience engrossed for the entirety of the play, and striking the perfect balance between hilarity and sincerity.
Sam Newman as Don Pedro and Lucy Glenshaw as Beatrice in "Much Ado About Nothing" Donald De Alwis
Sam Newman as Don Pedro and Lucy Glenshaw as Beatrice in "Much Ado About Nothing"

In another of O'Connor's impressive additions to the play, a live band is present during the entirety of the performance, accompanying dance scenes and speaking scenes with beautiful music. Consisting of a trumpet, violin, and guitar, the band's playing is impeccable and the members, outfitted as mariachi performers, help set the mood and tone for each scene, breathing even more life into an already vibrant performance.

Full of surprises, this show's choreography is the perfect complement to the lighthearted plot. Choreographers Jennifer Garcia and Sofia Sandoval-Ferriss excellently prepared the cast, and each dance scene is festive and energetic, especially when working in tandem with the exquisite and colorful costumes.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is a hilarious and fun play on its own. But when combined with the stellar acting and talented crew members that can be excepted from any Blair show, it is taken to a whole new and thoroughly enjoyable level. In its latest production, Blair theater doesn't disappoint. "Much Ado About Nothing" is highly recommended to lovers of Shakespeare, lovers of comedy, and lovers of fun. With a committed and hilarious cast and a jaw dropping set, "Much Ado about Nothing" promises a wonderful time for everyone.

"Much Ado About Nothing" has four more performances: At 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13, and at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 14.

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  • Latina Theatre Fan on December 22, 2015 at 2:53 PM
    The show was awful and culturally insensitive. It claimed to be set in "Latin America" so that O'Connor could incorporate different cultural aspects that had nothing to do with each other. The actors were almost entirely white and it switched between cultures so much I could barely sit through it. I was ashamed to have seen it. My parents and I are all Latino and found it horrifically offensive.
  • Person on January 2, 2016 at 5:41 PM
    lmaoooo, the cast being white is irrelevant. Their race don't matter. And how did the cultures switch so much? If you wanted more latin, maybe you should've auditioned. Just a thought....
  • WowReally? (View Email) on February 5, 2016 at 7:05 PM
    I heard people calling this show whitewashed accusing the directors of being racist. I say, utter BS to that. I'm Latino, I was in the play. It was my first time ever performing or auditioning ever and it was fantastic. No one treated me different. I hardly saw Latinos audition. Every Hispanic person I saw auditioning made it. I didn't even see many Lations audition. Pretty sure if talented Latinos auditioned they would've gotten in. Me and my family that are fully Latino didn't find this offensive whatsoever. Everyone in the cast was an amazing person. I don't see how anyone could find this offensive due to the lack of Latinos because only a few Latinos even
    bothered to audition. I 100% firmly believe that the people involved with Much Ado are not racist in the slightest form.
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