Spring play '08: Cast is chosen, rehearsals begin
Published: Monday, February 4, 2008 - 10:15pm
A Comedy by
- Directed by: Barbara Ridenour
- When: April 3, 4, 5
- Where: North Attic Playhouse
WITH THE CAST revealed on Friday evening, rehearsals began today for “Much Ado About Nothing,” the spring play for 2008.
The total cast comprises 41 people, with 18 named characters and 23 chorus members (messengers, watchers, crowd, attendants, and the like).
“This [the large cast] will be an experiment to see if it's manageable,” said director Barbara Ridenour. “'Much Ado' allowed for an unspecified number of extras, the way musicals often do, so I thought I would try working with a very large cast.
“I also had an unprecedented amount of boys try out, and I wanted to encourage their participation. Sometimes I hear students say, 'If you're a guy, you'll get a part.' That is not necessarily so, but usually I get way more girls at auditions than boys. I like to give the seniors parts if I can since this is their last show, but at the same time, I need to build a group of new participants.”
A formal rehearsal schedule is set to be posted on Tuesday. Also, major characters are required to participate in a “Much Ado About Shakespeare” class during Agora Days.
Although some cast members said they were a little intimidated by performing in a Shakespeare play, they expressed confidence that the outcome will be nothing short of the Uni standard: fantastic.
“Shakespeare is challenging, but I think we can pull it off because we have some really great actors,” explained sophomore Anna Gooler, who plays Sexton. “I'm excited to be a part of it because I know we can make it a really impressive production.”
Junior Lauren Piester, a chorus member, agreed. “I've never done Shakespeare before, so it should be pretty fun,” she said. “It's a really funny show, with lots of cool and talented people in it, so it should turn out amazingly.”
Said Ridenour in an e-mail: “It’s going to be a great show and a marvelous adventure!!”
Generally considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, “Much Ado About Nothing” was originally published in 1600, when Shakespeare was nearing the middle of his career.
The story revolves around two sets of lovers: Beatrice and Benedick, and Claudio and Hero. Because of a series of misunderstandings, Claudio wrongly accuses Hero of cheating on him. Eventually, the two resolve their differences, and — like most of Shakespeare’s comedies — the play ends with a double wedding.
Ridenour chose this piece for Uni's spring production because she has long enjoyed the play. In addition, many other local theatrical groups will be performing Shakespeare’s works.
“Shakespeare is in the air this semester throughout the community,” she explained. “The U of I theatre department is doing several Shakespeare and Shakespeare-related plays. Parkland is doing a musical based on 'The Tempest,' and the Station Theatre is doing a show based on 'A Comedy of Errors.'”
Following the production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 2000 and “As You Like It” in 2004, this will be the third Shakespeare play Ridenour has directed.
CAST LIST: “MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING”
- Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon: Carl Zielinski
- Don John, his bastard brother: Daniel McNamara
- Claudio, a young lord of Florence: Julian Hartman
- Benedick, a young lord of Padua: Ethan Berl (pending)
- Leonato, governor of Messina: Grant Loos
- Antonio, his brother: Rob Diehl
- Balthasar, attendant on Don Pedro: Zack Goldberg
- Conrade, follower of Don John: Dillon Price
- Borachio, follower of Don John: James Smith
- Friar Frances: Sarah Lake-Rayburn
- Dogberry, a constable: Deren Kudeki
- Verges, a headborough: Daniel Wilson
- Sexton: Anna Gooler
- Hero, daughter to Leonato: Jamie Weiser
- Beatrice, niece to Leonato: Hannah Lake-Rayburn
- Margaret, gentlewoman attending on Hero: Anna Cangellaris
- Ursula, gentlewoman attending on Hero: Michelle Gao
- Messenger: Tianna Pittenger
- Ensemble (watch, attendants, musicians, singers, etc.): Will Erickson, Katherine Floess, Maria Gao, Maia Gersten, Karen Han, Hadley Hauser, Jeremy Kemball, Rodney LeNoir, Hannah Leskosky, Marie Lilly, Diana Liu, Sierra Marcum, Aramael Pena-Alcantara, Lauren Piester, Elizabeth Russell, Serena Schatz, Brittany Scheid, Ethan Schiller, Stefanie Senior, Lisa Sproat, Laura Voitik, Buck Walsh, Richard Wang