OUE-Much Ado-1

Cast members, from left, Zachary Parsons, Cody Kramer, Derek Deal, Lindsey Wayne, Nicole Lewis, Renno Barnes, Derek DeMattio and Jake Schwarz pose for a photo.

Photographer: EJ Schodzinski

OUE-Much Ado-2

“Much Ado About Nothing” cast members, from left, Kayla Ernest, Timberly Robinson, Lindsey Wayne, Nicole Lewis, Chelsey Christman and Tamara Smathers pose for a photo.

Photographer: EJ Schodzinski

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Ohio University Eastern Theatre presents ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio – The Theater Department of Ohio University Eastern Campus will present William Shakespeare’s comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” April 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11, 12 in the Shannon Hall Theater. Thursday evening performances begin at 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 8 p.m.

First performed in 1598, “Much Ado About Nothing” has been called Shakespeare’s most realistic comedy. The story focuses on the trials of two very different sets of lovers, Hero and Claudio, and Beatrice and Benedick. The “Nothing” of the title may refer to the various misadventures that challenge these two couples as they attempt to wed.

“Much Ado About Nothing” is both a celebration and a biting examination of love, as revealed through the often contradictory rituals of courtship. The script is filled with classic comedy and festive good spirits, yet is grounded with a 400-year-old, modern suspicion of romance.

Two popular films of the 1990’s have influenced OUE Theatre Director Dennis Fox’s interpretation of the script. Both Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 production of “Much Ado About Nothing” and John Madden’s 1998 Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love” figure prominently in the Eastern Campus production.

“For a long time I thought I would never direct ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ simply because I have been so very influenced by those films,” said Fox. “The opportunity for our actors to portray these great characters, however, overcame my reluctance. I decided to embrace and use these films’ influences and credit their importance to our production.”

Fox has assembled a large, talented cast for the production. Playing Leonato is OUE junior Zachary Parsons of Bethesda. In the role of the Messenger is Eastern sophomore Kayla Ernest, who lives in Shadyside. Lindsey Wayne of Moundsville is playing Beatrice. OUE senior Nicole C. Lewis is cast as Hero; Lewis was last seen as Clarice in “The Liar.” Barnesville native Derek Deal, a senior at Eastern, is playing Don Pedro; Deal was last seen as Cliton in “The Liar.” Benedick is being played by Martins Ferry native Cody A. Kramer; Kramer is an OUE Theatre veteran and was last seen as Dorante in “The Liar.” In the role of Don John is Renno M. Barnes of Quaker City; Barnes has appeared in many OUE Theatre productions and was last seen as Marley’s Ghost in “A Christmas Carol.” OUE sophomore Derek DeMattio of Richmond has the role of Claudio; he was last seen as Philiste in “The Liar.” Wheeling native Timberly Robinson is playing Antonia. Jake Schwarz of St. Clairsville is cast as Conrade. Chelsey A. Christman of Quaker City has the role of Margaret. Ursula is being played by Tamara Smathers of Bridgeport. Playing Dogberry is Connie J. Wendel of Glen Dale; Wendel is familiar to OUE Theatre audiences and was last seen as Sue Bayliss in “All My Sons.” In the role of Verges is Eastern junior Ruth Carter of Bethesda. Barnesville native and Eastern first-year student Mark Gingerich is playing Seacoal. The Friar is being played by Mary Prather of Wheeling. St. Clairsville resident and OUE Theatre veteran James Casebolt is cast as the Sexton. Technicians for “Much Ado About Nothing” are Eastern sophomore Corey Alexander of Bridgeport and OUE senior Jeannie Goletz of Maynard. Production Stage Manager is OUE Theatre Technical Director Beth Casebolt.     

OUE Theatre will present “Much Ado About Nothing” April 3, 4, 5, and 10, 11, 12 in the Shannon Hall Theater. Thursday evening performances begin at 7 p.m., and all tickets are priced at $5. Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 8 p.m.; general admissions tickets are priced at $7, with student and senior citizen discount tickets priced at $5. For more information or to make reservations, contact Fox at foxd@ohio.edu or (740) 699-2340.

Ohio University Eastern is conveniently located off I70, exit 213, just west of St. Clairsville.