FMU presented Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” with a 40’s twist from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the Hyman Fine Arts Center.
Students were dressed in big curls, bangs, retro war apparel and some of the actors even sported a mustache or two.
Junior Jessica Sistrunk played the two roles of Conrad and Messenger, both of which were men.
“It was really fun being able to dress and act as the opposite sex,” Sistrunk said. “It allowed me to dig deep and made me challenge myself as an actress because I realized not only did I need to commit to the gender and age but also make the character funny without trying to oversell it.”
Sistrunk also liked the changes that were made to the costumes.
“I think that it was a great idea to modernize the wardrobe a bit,” Sistrunk said. “Although we are still using the same language that was originally written, the costuming seemed to have a positive effect on the audience; it helped with their comprehension of what would usually be heard as confusing old English.”
Senior Tarchea Brown said she enjoyed the play, although some of it was hard to follow.
“It was still confusing to me because of the language used,” Brown said. “You really had to think and pay attention in order to understand the jokes that were made. I did like the plot, that was funny all by itself.”
Senior Jasmine Woods said she thought the play was interesting and surprising even though it was sometimes hard to understand.
“I wish that there was more information given through the characters so that the plot would have been better understood,” Woods said. “I was really surprised at the end when the character I thought was dead showed up. It was still funny to me but for a different reason than intended. And I did like the costumes; these were my favorite costumes from all of the productions I’ve seen here at FMU so far.”
Without giving too much away, the comedic love story takes place shortly after a war. Hero (Aaliyah Broadus) falls in love with veteran Claudio (Christopher Steele). Claudio is deceived, and believes that Hero had been unfaithful to him before their wedding. In the meantime, the hotheaded and witty cousin of Hero, Beatrice (Joy Price), and one of Claudio’s comrades, Benedick (Kaylee Griggs), are tricked into falling in love with each other even though they were averse to the idea. In the end, love and justice is found on the behalf of all parties.
This was the first production presented by FMU this school year and it was also the first full set built by the newest face in the theatre department, Aaron Krohn, assistant professor of theatre, and it was produced by Keith Best, chair of the department of fine arts.
If you missed the first production of the year you can catch FMU’s next production titled BOOM! on February 19-22. This production will be directed by Dawn Larsen, associate professor of theatre arts-history.