‘Much Ado’ a perfect fit for Shakespeare Co.
The play fits well with the company’s space and dynamic, Artistic Director Grant Turner said.
“Much Ado About Nothing” wasn’t originally slated to be performed this season, but Turner said it made the most sense. Originally the company was actively working toward showcasing Shakespeare’s well-known Macbeth, but Turner who was in the middle of casting for the play, wasn’t feeling comfortable with the idea. But as he looked at the cast members he did have, he realized that “Much Ado About Nothing” was a perfect fit.
“I was looking at the dynamics and who we had. It went together quickly,” Turner said. “It’s a refreshing way to start the season.”
Turner said that the cast members encompass a wide range of individuals, from new to the local stages, to seasoned veterans. Most of the cast are locals who have been acting for the Shakespeare Company or on other local stages. There are also a few former Eastern Oregon University theater students and EOU theater professor Ken Wheeler. Rounding out the cast is Cody Dickerson, who is new to La Grande stages and the Shakespeare Company.
“It’s a strong and funny cast,” Turner said. “But it’s a funny show, with a good eclectic group.”
The play’s main plot is a wedding that gets thwarted by someone that spreads a nasty rumor about one of the intendeds. The subplot, which Turner said may be more popular than the main plot, is of two individuals Benedick (played by Liberty O’Dell) and Beatrice (played by Rose Peacock), who are portrayed as bitter and loveless. Other characters tell each of the individuals, without the other’s knowledge, that they are in love with each other, and by the end of the play they indeed fall in love.
The play will be held at Looking Glass Books, which seats an audience of 25. Turner explained that formerly Shakespeare plays were performed in large arenas, but in the early 1970s they were downsized to smaller theaters which allowed for more subtleties of the dialogue to come through. Turner said that while it may seem intimidating to be that close to cast members during the play it is actually quite the opposite.
“This will allow for more participation in the experience opposed to the play washing over you,” Turner said.
The play will run from Oct. 27 through Nov. 5. The show starts at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $12 for students and seniors, and $15 for adults. They can be purchased at Looking Glass Books or by calling Turner at 971-244-3740.