This summer, Griffith Park becomes the post-WWII Mediterranean countryside when Independent Shakespeare Co. opens Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. The show will begin previews at The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival on Thursday, July 30 at 7pm and will open on Saturday, August 8 at 7pm and perform through Sunday, August 30 at Old Zoo in Griffith Park. All ISC Summer Shakespeare productions are FREE to the public.
The time period is summer of 1945 in Messina, where we find Don Pedro and his battalion enjoying a much-needed respite in Leonato’s bomb-riddled villa. While awaiting the nuptials of Claudio and Hero, Don Pedro and his men amuse themselves by playing Cupid between Beatrice, Hero’s witty and sharp-tongued cousin, and confirmed bachelor-for-life Benedick. As the wine flows in Leonato’s villa, discord emerges, judgment is clouded, and passions are set ablaze by the most powerful intoxicant of all: love.
“Much Ado About Nothing will fill the Park with laughter, music and dancing,” says director Jeffrey Wienckowski. “But in this roaring party there is a sudden turn where things get very real and very dark. It is this dichotomy that allows clownish physical comedy to live right alongside very real dramatic tension. This works perfectly with ISC’s trademark spontaneous style that always expertly walks that line between comedy and drama. The play will feature music of the 1940s as well as original compositions by Chris Porter. The 1940s gives an important backdrop of battle to the play, and it also instills a sense of nostalgia and romance. Much Ado About Nothing is a very human story about the fallibility of lovesick hearts.”
The cast will feature Jose Acain, Richard Azurdia, Danny Brown, Danny Campbell, Melissa Chalsma, Joseph Culliton, Thomas Ehas, William Elsman, André Martin, David Melville, Xavi Moreno, Marcelo Olivas, Evan Lewis Smith, Bernadette Sullivan, Napoleon Tavale and Erwin Tuazon. Season production design is by Caitlin Lainoff. Season lighting design is by Bosco Flanagan and costume design is by Amanda Lee. Currently ISC is presenting Romeo & Juliet in Griffith Park through July 26. For more information, call (818) 710-6306 or go to www.iscla.org.