May 10

Keeping the Bard on His Toes: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Much Ado About Nothing…With A Twist adapted by Daniel Morris, Bad Habit Productions, Deane Hall at Boston Center for the Arts, 4/28/12-5/13/12, http://www.badhabitproductions.org/shows/season/MuchAdo.html.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) There’s a funny story the actor Charles Grodin shares about famed acting teacher Uta Hagen, where Hagen was dissecting the terribleness of a scene Grodin had just done.  She hated everything except for one moment when Grodin’s scene partner was slow to hand the actor a prop.  Because there was a delay, Grodin looked genuinely concerned, and that, Hagen announced, was true acting.

I’m not a big fan of the Method myself, but I’m starting to see her point, especially when it comes to Shakespeare.  Acting involves a weird combo of memorization and playful improvisation.  But when it comes to the Bard’s work, too many productions are populated with actors who know they are saying weighty words and making weighty gestures; every move is preordained and dripping with importance.  Such a style robs the lyrical and impish qualities of plays that once were performed for bawdy Elizabethans.

Luckily, there are productions like Bad Habit’s staging of Much Ado About Nothing to inject life into scripts that we have too long sanctified.   Continue reading

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