Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' is performing this week at the ADC Theatre, with an entirely BME cast and crew. We spoke to the show's Director, HANNAH SAMUEL-OGBU, alongside the Assistant Directors, to find out more about their approach to the show.
What should an audience expect from Much Ado About Nothing?
Our production of Much Ado immerses the audience into a world of comedy, fun and romance. With a full BME cast and crew, different cultures have been fused to create this modern twist on a classic, Shakespearean play. With a cast of eighteen, everyone brings their own vibrant energy to the stage.
The two central love stories portray love in its different forms, whilst the village watchmen and constable provide comedy through confusion and tomfoolery. However, it is not all fun and games for our characters; they are plagued by jealousy and deceit as the more malicious characters create tricks and obstacles for our protagonists. The audience follow their journey as they work to come together and reach justice.
The audience should expect colourful clothes from various cultures, a beautiful set (including a balcony!) and both original composed music as well as well-known music in popular culture. The crew have created a beautiful and unique experience.
What is it about Much Ado About Nothing that makes it still so popular among modern audiences?
People always say that Shakespeare’s plays are timeless because they contain fundamental human truths. Whilst this is a bit cringe, there’s definitely validity to it. At its core, Much Ado About Nothing is an exploration of the complexity of navigating relationships, be they familial, friendly, or romantic. This can be interpreted and re-interpreted to reflect a diverse array of settings and cultures.
Humour manages to still shine through moments of relationship strife, insecurity and betrayal. Watching Much Ado About Nothing is a thoroughly joyful experience. It is filled with wordplay and visual comedy; music and dance perfuse the plot, creating a wonderful air of festivity.
How have rehearsals been coming along?
Rehearsals have been an incredibly fun and collaborative process. Everyone comes with so much energy and is ready to bring their own ideas and spin to the show, interfusing their own personality and cultures into their characters. It has been amazing to see everything come together now that we’re in the final stretch.We have been seeing so much of each other - it’s a wonder we’re not sick of each other yet! From the beginning, we were keen to foster an atmosphere of care and community. Working with a fully BME cast and crew has allowed us to bond on a deeper level as we can empathise with each other’s experiences, especially within the relatively small subset of BME creatives in Cambridge Theatre.
Without spoiling too much, what is your favourite part of the show?
Angela (Assistant Director): The opening scene. So much happens here - we are thrown into the characters' lives and get to see the community building. I love scenes where the stage is busy and almost verging on chaos ahaha.
Jun San (Assistant Director): My favourite scene is the ball! There is so much going on and everyone is enjoying themselves - very good vibes. We also see the romantic tensions between various characters, some of which are essential to the plot later on in the play, so keep an eye out!