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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Drama takes on ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ as fall play

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Last fall, members of the drama department tackled serious roles for their production of Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible.” This weekend, though, the drama department will take on a play of a very different tone: William Shakespeare’s comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Director and drama teacher Sarah Thermond chose “Much Ado About Nothing” as the fall play this year because she wanted a comedy that would be enjoyable for all ages. She also wanted actors and the community alike to experience different kinds of theater.
“I’m enjoying [rehearsals so far],” Thermond said. “I'm also excited about sharing the drama department and Shakespeare with so many new students and seeing how much talent and energy they are bringing to the process."
The cast is just as excited as Thermond for this year's fall play.
“I’m super excited that we are doing ‘Much Ado Ado About Nothing’ as our fall play this year,” said sophomore Emily Ludwig, who plays the role of Antonia, the sister of the wealthy lord of Messina, Leonato. “It’s one of my favorite plays and I’ve watched the movie version of it so many times.”
“Much Ado About Nothing” revolves around two contrasting couples: Beatrice and Benedick, a couple who constantly bicker with each other, and Hero and Claudio, who are openly in love. 
This year, the play has about 18 scenes opposed to last year’s “The Crucible,” which had only four to five major scenes. In order to accommodate cast members’ schedules, Thermond has been calling rehearsals based on characters.
“The big challenge with [separate rehearsals], however, is that we will go about five weeks of rehearsing before we put the show together in order,” Thermond said.  “We have talked a lot about what they need to do to be ready for that adjustment, though, and I am confident that they will be able to combine the separate pieces into a unified show.”
This year, 18 of the 32 students in the play are performing in an SHS production for the first time.
One such first-timer is senior Amelia Troyer, who secured the part of Hero, the underlying cause of all the problems in the comedy, even though it is her first year participating in one of the school’s drama productions.
“The auditions were like nothing I’ve done before,” Troyer said. “I used to do plays in middle school, but they were not as intense.”
Although the intensity of the auditions was new to many cast members, Thermond was impressed by the actors’ capabilities. 
“[The cast] impressed me so much at auditions that I went back to the script and found a way to give everyone lines and featured moments,” Thermond said. “This includes drama students that I have worked with a lot before, students who are brand new to the school and students who aren't new to the school, but are to drama.”
Senior Annelise Nussbacher, a regular in the drama department who has participated in over 11 productions, plays the role of Beatrice, the sassy love interest of Benedick. 
Nussbacher also loves Shakespeare, but has never performed his work before and is excited that they are putting on a play written by him for her last fall play.
“I think [Shakespeare] is incredibly insightful and poetic and I am really looking forward to throwing some effort and doing my best to master the language and do a just and admirable representation of his work,” Nussbacher said.
“Much Ado About Nothing” opens tomorrow at the McAfee at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Sunday matinee show at 2 p.m. There will be two more evening performances on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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