To start this report I am going to explain a little about the Elizabethan theatre and the plays that were performed, like this one, and also a little on what it would have been like. For example the lighting, sound and costumes as these played a very large role in these times.
Firstly a little about the theatre itself, the Elizabethan was named after Queen Elizabeth I and was built for Shakespeare and many other play writers. The theatre itself was very different back then from theatres today. Nowadays you can go and pay an affordable price and sit in a good seat in a comfortable theatre and have perfect lighting and great sound to illuminate the actors and have complicated background and scenery to give impressions of indoor and outdoor scenes, but back then they were very different. The centre of the theatre had no roof. And since there was no powerful lighting they had to depend on sunlight. The centre, open part, contained a stage and a courtyard. Unlike today, many people had to stand in the yard in front of the stage and the stage was raised so everyone could see. Only wealthy people could sit in the high storeys which were covered by a roof.
There was no scenery back then so Shakespeare's actors could move freely across the stage. Costumes were often rich and impressive but were not always historically correct.
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Back then without scenery or costumes the play had to rely on words to show the audience when, where and what was happening.
Back then the audience had to use their imagination far more than we do today in theatres or in movies, almost like a Childs show on ABC, especially in one way: there were no actresses! The theatre was not considered a good place for a woman to be; instead the women were played by young men whose voices had not broken.
So as you can see everything was much more different than it is today, from the setting of the theatre to the actors and what they wear on their body.
Next is the report about the play and everything, after that is the play that we as a group re-wrote in modern English language.
Much Ado about Nothing
Plot: Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, has just returned from a victorious military campaign and they have come to visit Leonato - Governor of Messina. Meanwhile Claudio, a young Lord accompanying Don Pedro falls in love with Hero, the daughter of Leonato. At the same time, Don John, Don Pedro's evil brother is planning to destroy the proposed marriage between Claudio and Hero. Whilst all of this is happening Beatrice and Benedick have a supposed love for each other, after a while the friends find out and rather than breaking them apart, they want to bring them together. Which leads into the main storyline. Towards the end Claudio sees Hero cheating on him (but it was one of Don John's servants, Borachio - planned) and insults Hero at the wedding for what he saw and killed her verbally. The story ends with the news of the capture of Don John who had run away after his evil planning, and the marriages of Claudio and Hero, Beatrice and Benedick who secretly loved each other.
Characters: there are a lot of characters in this play but I have chosen the main 10, so here they are.
Leonato: is the Governor of Messina and is the father of hero. He is an old wise man and cares for many people, is brave and was once a soldier. He has a lot of caution for things and other people and their ways.
Don Pedro: is the brave, young, strong and smart prince of Aragon he is a great soldier, he is a very mature bachelor and also can sometimes be very cunning and witty, he likes everyone except for his evil brother don john, or as we call him, the bastard.
Claudio: he is a young, brave and handsome soldier accompanying Don Pedro he can also be immature and sometimes jealous. He is also the one whom is in love with hero.
Hero: is the daughter of Leonato, and what's not to like, She is young, pretty, smart and is also madly in love with Claudio, she is the one to marry him.
Benedick: he is also a young, brave and handsome soldier accompanying don Pedro. He is smart, witty and also has a little thing for Beatrice which comes after all the name calling as he thinks as her as the devil himself. He also thinks he can have any girl he wants and all the girls like him except for Beatrice.
Beatrice: she's bright, pretty, witty and sometimes annoying; she is a bit fussy with men, she doesn't want one with a beard or without, they are either too young or too old. She does her best to make benedicks life a living hell; she also secretly has a soft heart for him, as you can tell (later on). She is leonatos niece and Heros cousin.
Don John: is bitter, antisocial, and jealous of the love and friendship everyone has for each other. He lacks of manners and social graces, he also can not get a woman because of his mannerisms. Don John is the mastermind behind the evil plan of wrecking Claudio and Heros wedding.
Dogberry & Verges: he is one of the most memorable comic creations from this play. He is keenly aware of his position and enjoys explaining to every one, in his own English, full of long misused words, what his and their duties are. Even with his very amusing malapropisms, he is valued by high importance, by Leonato especially, for his services. Verges on the other hand, is wiser and is their to accompany Dogberry and give him able support whilst examining prisoners.
Conrade & Borachio: they are the followers of don john and are also the master minds behind the wedding. Borachio is the smarter, more cunning one out of the two, and is also the more dominant one. Conrade, however, not as cunning as Borachio, and does not show it, but helps his master in any way he might profit from it.
Setting: the setting of the play is set-in Italy and in little towns such as Messina. Scenes and Acts are mainly set in Leonatos house and are set in gardens and courtyards, during the day. At night it is mainly set inside the hose in room and in apartments. In one scene it is set in a hall and in a courtyard where they are all dancing and celebrating. Lighting outside was probably natural and at night it was artificial so it would capture the light and effect of lamps and candles.
Theme: the plays title is a very important clue to its theme, and Shakespeare has done a very good job at this, for the word nothing means noting, and the plot is based on noting-on eavesdropping, observing, taking notes on people's behaviour and coming to conclusions about other people, conclusions that are sometimes wrong. The title 'much ado about nothing' basically means 'making a big fuss of nothing'. As you will see this in the movie, as it is basically what the whole story is about, making a fuss of nothing.
So that brings us to the end of my report. Overall I thought the play was interesting, and fun. The main plot with benedick and Beatrice grabbed my full attention, and the wedding I really wanted to know what would happen. There was so many great characters, my favourite character who knew what he was going to say next. To sum it up in 4 words would be...Shakespeare is a genius.
Next is the play we as a group wrote up ourself in modern English. Which was very hard to do.
Much Ado About Nothing
Our own version.
ACT THREE, Scene 5
Leonato: Yes Dogberry. What would you like?
Dogberry: I would like a quick word with you that may concern you.
Leonato: please make it quick, I'm a little busy.
Dogberry: marriage, it is, sir.
Verges: yes, really, truly it is.
Leonato: What is it guys.
Dogberry: thankyou verges, sir, a little bit off the topic: some one of your age, sir, is not as cunning and smart as, well, I thought he would be, but is very honest and wise in his ways.
Verges: I agree, thankyou god that there is some man as old as him as smart as me in his ways.
Dogberry: comparisons are terrible, Verges.
Leonato: guys, you are boring.
Dogberry: if it pleases you to say so, we are unfortunately under the control of the duke, but truly on my own behalf, if I were as boring as you, would simply out of my heart give my worship to you.
Leonato: all of your boredom on me, huh?
Dogberry: yes and a thousand pound more, for I hear good praise to you, if I was not a poor man, but I am glad to hear it.
Verges: I am too.
Leonato: I would really like to know what is so important you want to tell me.
Verges: sir on our watch tonight, before meeting you, had taken a couple of wicked villains in Messina.
Dogberry: a good man, sir, verges, two men ride on a horse and one must ride behind him in front, neighbour verges.
Leonato: indeed, verges comes short of you dogberry.
Dogberry: thankyou sir, it is a gift from god.
Leonato: I must be going now.
Dogberry: one more thing, sir, we have caught two men and will have them examined by yourself in the morning.
Remember. This is just a sample.
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