NGU's 'Much Ado About Nothing' in midst of two-week run

Published on Friday, February 13, 2015

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“Much Ado” is the senior project of Joshua O’Bryan, who played the villainous Don John.

“Much Ado” is the senior project of Joshua O’Bryan, who played the villainous Don John.


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By Jonathan King

For GreerToday.com

North Greenville University’s rendition of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” is arguably one of its best shows yet, delivering humor and passion in equal measure.

The show is “sort of” set in the 1940s, as director Amy Dunlap likes to put it.

“It’s post-war, but it’s a more innocent time,” Dunlap said. “I don’t think these kinds of trickery would work on people today because we’re too jaded. But back in the forties, people were more innocent and more naive and more accepting of being tricked.”

The set transcends any one-time period, creating an ethereal world. From the Degas painting of clouds used for a backdrop to the realistic archways and the crystal-like hanging sculptures, theatre goers will feel outside time itself in a transcendent paradise.

The costumes fit this otherworldly theme perfectly. “We stuck with a pastel color palette and very lightweight fabrics,” Costume designer Allison Starling said. “It was a long process and there was a ton of changes made. But I’m happy with how they transform the world of the play.”

Every cast member is spot-on, mixing eloquently delivered Shakespearian dialogue with physical comedy. Lead actors Kaylee Thompson and John Carino, who played Beatrice and Benedick. respectively, shone especially bright, crackling with wit and energy.

“Much Ado” is the senior project of Joshua O’Bryan, who played the villainous Don John. While past shows have been a learning experience for him, O’Bryan wanted this performance to be as professional as possible.

“I was also experimenting with Michael Chekhov, his technique, his movements and psychological gesture,” O’Bryan said. “This was able to help bring forth my character and intentions.”

Audiences will see NGU’s Theatre Department take greater risks than ever, from getting its characters and costumes wet to painful-looking assault. Ultimately, though, the heroes come out all right.

“In the end,” Dunlap said in her director’s notes, “Much Ado is a story about the redeeming power of love and a celebration of life, even in the midst of conflict and pain.”

“Much Ado” runs Feb. 14 and 19-21. Shows begin at 7:30, and tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

Tickets are $8 per person, NGU students present a valid ID card and non-NGU students 6-years and older are $5. Call 864-977-7085.



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