Much Ado About Nothing - June 08 - June 24, 2023

New Canon Theatre Co.


Act One

(Shakespeare’s Act 1 Scene 1 through Act 3 Scene 2) 


In the aftermath of World War II, in the town of Messina, Leonata and her sisters Beatrice and Antonia are organizing their own version of the Hollywood Canteen (a famous USO of the era) to commemorate the end of the war. Alongside Leonata's daughter, Hero, and her friend Margaret, they eagerly anticipate the arrival of Don Pedro, Claudio, and Benedick. Claudio is instantly smitten with Hero, Leonata's daughter, and they agree to marry. Meanwhile, Benedick engages in a battle of wits with Beatrice, who adamantly claims that she will never wed. Don John, Don Pedro's illegitimate brother, maliciously schemes to sabotage Claudio and Hero's relationship out of spite. He enlists the help of his accomplice, Borachio, who plans to seduce Hero's friend, Margaret, and create the appearance of Hero's infidelity. During a festive party held to honor the returning soldiers, Don Pedro acts as an intermediary to court Hero on behalf of Claudio, while Don John attempts to disrupt their connection. Despite Don John's interference, the couple manages to unite. Don Pedro devises a plan to bring Benedick and Beatrice together, and with the support of Leonata, Claudio, and Hero, they set the scheme in motion. Unbeknownst to Benedick, he overhears Leonata, Don Pedro, and Claudio discussing Beatrice's secret love for him. This orchestrated ruse helps Benedick realize his suppressed feelings for Beatrice. Inspired by this successful trickery, Hero and Margaret employ a similar tactic on Beatrice, leading her to a newfound understanding of her own heart. The act concludes with Don John hatching Borachio's scheme and convincing his brother and Claudio to witness what they believe to be Hero's unfaithfulness.


Act Two

(Shakespeare’s Act 3 Scene 3 through Act 5 Scene 4) 


At Leonata's residence, we encounter a group of aspiring performers known as "the watch," who are eager to join the USO but find their only opportunity to showcase their talents is by acting as the town's police force. This group takes it upon themselves to guard Leonata's house on the eve of the wedding, determined to ensure everything goes smoothly. However, Borachio, proud of the success of his scheme, confides in Conrade about his deceitful plans, unknowingly within earshot of the watch. Seizing the opportunity, the watch apprehends the two men and vows to seek justice. However, in her haste, Leonata dismisses their concerns, and when the wedding ceremony begins, Claudio publicly rejects and humiliates Hero. Devastated by these events, the group turns to the Chaplain and suggests a plan to feign Hero's death, allowing time for the truth to be revealed. Beatrice and Benedick confess their love for each other, and Beatrice implores Benedick to avenge her wronged niece by challenging Claudio to a duel. In a twist of fate, the bumbling constable Dogberry and the watch align to bring  the truth to Claudio and Don Pedro. With Claudio remorseful and seeking forgiveness, Leonata graciously pardons him and offers her niece, who bears a striking resemblance to Hero, as a bride. Claudio vows to mourn Hero, seek redemption, and find resolution. The following day, during the second wedding ceremony, Hero is revealed to be Leonata’s niece to the surprise of Claudio and Don Pedro. Hero forgives Claudio for his wrongs. Once this happens, Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other publically and agree to marry.  The play culminates in a joyous celebration, where newfound love and reconciliation permeate among the characters.

Page 30 of 31