“In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke” and even those who dread Shakespeare can learn to love him. Particularly if they begin with “Much Ado about Nothing,” a light-hearted romantic tale, now on stage at the Mesa Arts Center.
Though originally written by the Bard in 1598 or 1599, Southwest Shakespeare Company’s Producing Artistic Director Jared Sakren set this version of the play in 1930s Argentina, making it more relatable to modern audiences.
The play is ultimately a banter between unwilling lovers — Benedick, a military officer, and Beatrice, the governor’s niece — who are hoodwinked into matrimony. The pairs’ verbal battles create a provocative, sexy vibe, reminiscent of the tango. Originating in 19th century Buenos Aires, the Argentinian dance inspired Sakren’s setting for “Much Ado About Nothing.”
“The tango has attitude. It’s bold, sharp, and sexy — all the qualities the show really needs,” Sakren said.
Because of its romantic roots, its relatively easy language and its light-hearted spirit, Sakren says “Much Ado About Nothing,” is a great play for Shakespeare novices.
“It has some of the most accessible language Shakespeare has ever written,” he said. “It’s breezy and romantic. It’s the ideal production to bring someone who has questions about Shakespeare and finds it difficult. You can’t pick a better production.”
Details >> 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; show runs through May 5. Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. $15.50-$36.50; discounts available for children, students and seniors. (480) 644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com.