There are so many ways to have fun with Shakespeare.
‘The Tempest’ is great and I so much laughed at ‘The Twelfth Night’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ has that witty spirit that got me cracking, while ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is simply magic. ‘The Comedy of Errors’ is lovely to read and ‘As You Like It’ is stunning from a circular theatre perspective (that’s how I’ve seen it, at least).
Give me Shakespeare every day, and I will enjoy it.
There is one comedy, though, that I really cannot tire of watching. Here’s the trailer:
Yes, all right, this isn’t a classical version of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, but still it holds all the original pathos, as well as the sarcasm and witticism, giving to Shakespeare’s words their rightful place into contemporary times.
As for the play itself, it’s not just funny, but an effective reflection on such themes as love, honour, shame and – of course – court politics.
The story is set in Messina, at the house of Leonato, governor of Messina, on the days of Don Pedro’s visit.
Benedick and Beatrice know each other very well already and not a meeting passes without a skirmish, as Leonato himself puts it. As it looks from the first scene, these two hate each other guts. Not just that, because both have also sworn absolute indifference – if not plain hostility – towards the other sex. Marriage is not an option, to them.
Arriving at Leonato’s house is also Claudio, a count friend to Benedick, who falls in love with Leonato’s daughter the moment he sets eyes on her – as it happens. Hero, the daughter, naturally requites Claudio’s love – as it happens.
Laughing at Benedick’s and Beatrice’s cynicism, Claudio and Hero decide to play a trick on them: by way of noting, they set off to the task of making them fall in love with one another. Basically, they let Benedick believe that Beatrice is in love with him – and viceversa.
Meanwhile, however, Don Pedro’s half-brother is not so happy with Hero’s engagement to Claudio. Of course, he would be happier if it was him marrying the young lady, becoming next in line as governor of Messina. So he tricks the groom in believing his bride to be unfaithful, throwing away the marriage and causing massive trouble.
And this is merely the set up.
What I like the most about this play? It’s powerful and yet so clear to understand. Words and acts reach out to the audience’s eyes and ears and by mean of them, they plunge into the hearts and stay there.