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Theatre arts reviewer for past 15 years. Delve in to biz of arts also
Much Wooing and Adooing in Arden Shakes Gild MUCH ADO
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By Greer Firestone

- Playwright/actor in 1 man First Person Multi Media Living History show THE DuPONT STORY  A FAMILY A COMPANY

- Playwright ...

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Aisle Say

- Playwright/actor in 1 man First Person Multi Media Living History show THE DuPONT STORY  A FAMILY A COMPANY

- Playwright of Broadway style musical GERSHWIN, by GEORGE: The 1936 Radio, JUDY GARLAND \x34World's Greatest Entertainer\x34

- Author of historical novel: ALEXEI and RASPUTIN

- High school soccer and lacrosse ref and arts/non-profits advocate

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By Greer Firestone
June 14, 2013 10:54 a.m.



A picturesque semi-circular theatre in sylvan Arden, created more by nature than man.  An enthusiastic troupe meeting annually to play the most beautiful language ever created.  Credit 'resident' Director Mary Catherine Kelley for the ability to not only bring back veteran actors such as Rob Tietze, James Kassees and Tim Donovan but also weaving in the burgeoning talents of the two 'sub' leading lovers and singer, actor, comedienne Lucy Smith (Ursula).

The play is generally considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, because it combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honor, shame, and court politics. (Hmm...sounds like Washington D.C., but I digress).

MUCH ADO chronicles two pairs of lovers: Benedick and Beatrice (the main couple), and Claudio and Hero (the secondary couple). Benedick and Beatrice are engaged in a very "merry war";  they are both very witty and proclaim their disdain of love. (aka Aisle Say's first wife)  In contrast, Claudio and Hero are sweet young people who are rendered practically speechless by their love for one another. (aka Aisle Say's second wife).

Although the young lovers Hero and Claudio provide the main impetus for the plot, the courtship between the wittier, wiser lovers Benedick and Beatrice is what make it so memorable. Benedick and Beatrice argue with delightful wit, and Shakespeare develops their journey from antagonism to sincere love and affection with a rich sense of humor and compassion.

"I would my horse have the speed of your tongue", says Benedick to Beatrice. There may not have been more talented regional actors than Adam Wahlberg and Kerry Kristine McElrone respectively who could have played these wordsmith wranglers.  Both have charming and mobile faces and the necessary vocal dexterity to deliver The Bard's playful prose. (Aisle Say Note: This play is one of the few written mainly in prose, as opposed to Will's predilection for iambic pentameter.)

Beatrice spouts her disdain for Benedict, "I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow

than a man swear he loves me".  Just when one thinks Beatrice bests Benedick in wordplay, the latter retorts with a wonderful line, "...(women) have such smart tongues and sexual lightness!" Wahlberg and McElrone pack sizzle and substance in their repartee and keep the sexual energy and frivolity flowing.


The relationship of Colin Antes (Claudio) and  Emma D. Orr (Hero) is obsessed by infidelity. The theme is that a man has no way to know if his wife is faithful and therefore women can take full advantage of that fact. Act I is taken with their being pawns in the game.  Claudio is led to believe that Hero is impure, even to the extent that their father James Kassees (Leonato) condemns her. The two young actors exude love for one another. There is great chemistry between the two. The audience is certain that true love will win the day.

Rob Tietze (Don Pedro) is the interlocutor of the play, bringing together the two (eventually loving) B's.  Don Pedro is considered a character that is the middleman and seems to understand the events more than the other character. Tietze is a seasoned actor of Shakespeare and only one with such experience can interpret the nuances and vision vital to this character.

Tim Donovan (Dogberry) is a buffoonish malaprope. The character is a chief of police, which from Shakespeare's pen was defined as comic incompetent. Donovan reveled at milking the lines.

Aisle Say Suggestions: Bring a cushion. Bring bug spray. And, for the Gild, move the back row to the front, so there might be even more audience engagement.

            This weekend and next!  7:30 Open Air - Arden Shakespeare Gild  475.3126

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