Much Ado About Nothing

By Madeline Sweet , Reporter

Cleveland students performed the Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing” April 12-14, and produced it wonderfully.

“Much Ado About Nothing” follows the love story between Claudio and Hero that begins with lust, has moments of betrayal and lies, and ends with forgiveness and love. The play also pursues the chemistry between Beatrice and Benedick, who both swear to go unmarried, but end up falling for each other after some meddling from their friends .

“A lot of the problems in the play are really contemporary,” said Tom Beckett, Cleveland’s drama teacher and director. “There’s a lot of gender issues that are going on in terms of how people are perceiving each other. Setting it in the Spanish civil war brought attention to the fact that we do have this split country and it’s split for so many reasons now.”

Beckett doesn’t stand alone in his love for Shakespeare. Senior Sophie Friedenwald-Fishman played Beatrice,  a witty and sarcastic noble who is determined never to marry but whose heart gets the better of her by the end of the show.

“I love Shakespeare. Shakespeare is actually the reason I got into theater and I was so excited when I learned that we were doing Much Ado. Shakespeare is unlike any other playwright in not only the universality of his plays, but the beauty of the language and the humanity of his characters. Even 400 years later, his works are just as relevant and amazing,” she said.  

Junior Cody Little-Reece played Don Pedro, the prince and close friend of Claudio. “I’ve loved Shakespeare since I started studying him in seventh grade. It’s wonderful to be able to present a piece of art from so long ago and give it new life,” they said.

Sophomore Andrew Rehmann played Benedick, a headstrong lord who returns from the war and has vowed to never marry, yet his heart is won over by Beatrice. “Shakespeare is different, I think, because you have to really focus on conveying emotion,” he said. “The words are a bit foreign so a lot of the understanding of the audience has to stem from the body language and tone the actors use. Performing Shakespeare definitely helped to improve my own acting.”

Beckett spent a lot of time with the cast to help them with the script because of how the English language has transformed over time. He brought in Caitlin Lushington from Enso theater to help everyone grasp the script, and she gave them strategies to help actors memorize their lines.

Beckett said the actors were ready to go since the first day of lighting and sound was introduced. “That’s probably one of the best casts I’ve had around here in a long time. They loved each other, they were working with each other all the time. The actors were just on top of it. That just made all the difference, it was really a strong production,” said Beckett.