This production retains Shakespeare’s original text, some of which has been transformed into lyrics for original music, and combines it with digital projection, movement, dance and Facebook in an interactive performance that provokes reflection upon the influence of social media on 21st Century relationships.
When viewed through a contemporary lens, this play seems to be inspired by one alternative title: Much Ado About Noting. During the English Renaissance, ‘noting’ (meaning rumour or overhearing) sounded very similar to ‘nothing’, used in the title of the play. It’s through noting that Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into professing their love for each other and by founding his belief on nothing, Claudio is tricked into refusing to marry Hero. This word play has inspired the unusual title for this production, Much Ado About Not(h)ing, the use of the parenthesis indicating that the ‘h’ in the word ‘nothing’ can be retained or deleted: noting or nothing.
Much Ado About Not(h)ing explores what we, as a 21st century society, take most note of. Do we take note of the people and events that occur around us in the ‘mortal world’, or do we become so entrenched in our ‘digital world’ that we spend most of our day looking at a computer screen or our mobile phone? I believe this ‘noting’ of social media and technology is the root of some troubles that we experience in our relationships today, and will be reflected in the obstacles between the characters in the play, set in 21st century London.
With this innovative concept in mind, mobile devices are an integral element of the performance. Audience members are invited to turn ON their mobile phones during the performance so they can choose between viewing the live performance presented by the actors onstage or the live digital performance that they can access through Facebook on their mobile phones (or a little of both), thus actively immersing the audience in the dilemma the production is trying to explore. This play with music contains a total of seven songs, two of which were intended by Shakespeare to be songs in his original text.
Much Ado About Not(h)ing
Adapted and directed by Kelly Wilson
Original music by Alex Loveless and Scott Howland
Choreography by Darren Royston
Performed at The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH
Thursday, June 20, Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22 at 8pm
Book online at thecockpit.org.uk or on 020 7258 2925
(10.30am-6pm Mon to Fri, 12noon-6pm Sat)
The production runs for 95 minutes without an interval