A Little Ado about Much Ado About Nothing
August 11, 2020 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing... is streaming live for free until early September courtesy of PBS. The play was performed live in Central Park last year. You can tell it's something special when it begins with the actors mashing together Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" with the "Star Spangled Banner". The play features "Danielle Brooks (“Orange is the New Black,” Broadway’s “The Color Purple”) and Grantham Coleman (“Buzzer,” “The Americans”) as the sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick. Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (“American Son,” “A Raisin in the Sun”) directs with choreography by Tony Award nominee Camille A. Brown (“Choir Boy”)."
posted by storybored (23 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oooh, they extended it? When I watched it, it was only streaming until like June 1, IIRC. This is great news. It is amazing. Y’all please do yourselves a favor and watch it.
posted by snowmentality at 10:30 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I loved this, it's one of my top versions!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:43 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I get "We're sorry, but this video is not available". Blocked in the UK maybe?
posted by paduasoy at 12:32 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Thanks so much for the link! Much Ado is my favorite of Shakespeare’s comedies.

I was in our local Shakespeare in the park’s production a few years back. Our performance site was at the marina park, and boats passing by could see a lot of the action. One night we got to the last scene; Hero and Claudio were standing in front of the Friar in their wedding clothes. No sooner was “I am your husband, if you like of me,” out of Claudio’s mouth than some guy yells, “DON’T DO IT, MAN!” from his boat. We had to pause for a minute to let the audience laugh.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:59 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


I get "We're sorry, but this video is not available". Blocked in the UK maybe?

Yeah, me too (also from the UK). It's a pity, because I would have loved to see Brooks as Beatrice.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:54 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Paduasoy. Blocked also in Ireland. If after the tease you must have a Much Ado fix. It looks like the 1983 Kenneth Branagh version is on Youtube con subtítulos en español . "There's a double meaning in that". I bought this on DVD 20 years ago for its educational value for my sub-teen daughters. We sat in a row on the sofa and the younger one spent the first 20 minutes with "what did he say?. . . what's going on? . . .ooo horses" but then she got her ear and settled into the story. Happy days.
posted by BobTheScientist at 3:57 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Yeah, me too (also from the UK).

There’s something ineffably modern about taking a free public performance of a play in the public domain by a literary titan synonymous with Britain and making it unavailable to Brits.

(Same message for me in Canada, btw. I suppose we should convert all our sounds of woe into hey nonny nonny.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:44 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


It's a superb production. Particularly so on a soft, summer night.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:41 AM on August 12


I watched the show earlier this summer, really great. One of the things that struck me as I was watching was there was a notable lack of, not sure what to call it, code-switching? Like, with most Shakespeare productions I've seen, even if it's not an all/mostly white cast, even if it's done in a modern/contemporary setting, there's a standard sort of way the dialogue is delivered. Not necessarily faux-British 'Received Pronunciation' or 'Mid-Atlantic' or 'Continental' or whatever, but just a sort of 'This-Is-Shakespearian-Standard.' But with this production, the actors had a great way of delivering the lines that retained something distinctly African-American. Like, still 100% Shakespearian as far as the lines themselves, but delivered with a naturalism that I'm not used to seeing in Shakespeare productions.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:46 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Oh, this is amazing, the whole cast is great but Danielle Brooks as Beatrice is next level! If you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely treat yourself.

The movie version with Emma Thompson was my favorite movie as a tween, and if you told me I'd like another version better I would not have believed you. Never say never.
posted by the primroses were over at 8:29 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Oh, yay! I missed it on the previous go-round and was very sad. Will be sure to catch it this time!
posted by merriment at 8:49 AM on August 12


Chiming in to add to the praise -- this is an absolutely stellar version. The Branagh/Thompson version was my favorite too, but I think this one actually does a better job with the comedy -- the delivery is just natural, as oh yeah! said, and the banter more fast-paced and less arch. It works incredibly well.
More than the Branagh/Thompson version (which, to be fair, I saw when I was a tween and didn't know anything), it feels like this production also brings out something really interesting about the play that I hadn't noticed before: Benedick's rejection of the bros-before-hoes masculine code that drives the misunderstanding (and hence the dramatic action) in this and so many other Shakespeare plays. Go watch it if you can!
posted by bokane at 9:11 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I get "We're sorry, but this video is not available". Blocked in the UK maybe?

I've heard that some people use the Browsec extension in Chrome. Heard from a friend. Who has no name and can't be traced.
posted by storybored at 11:05 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Yeah, me too (also from the UK).

There’s something ineffably modern about taking a free public performance of a play in the public domain by a literary titan synonymous with Britain and making it unavailable to Brits.

(Same message for me in Canada, btw. I suppose we should convert all our sounds of woe into hey nonny nonny.)


PBS is very weird. If you want to watch PBS shows, even in the U.S., you have to allow doubleclick tracking so that some pretty sketchy people can track your viewing habits.
posted by srboisvert at 11:58 AM on August 12


Wow very excited to watch this later. Joss Whedon's (barf) rendition was the first time that I really understood-understood Shakespeare, and enjoyed watching it. Forgive me, I'm a Young. Thrilled to learn Emma Thompson did one, too, I love her.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:13 PM on August 12


PBS is very weird. If you want to watch PBS shows, even in the U.S., you have to allow doubleclick tracking so that some pretty sketchy people can track your viewing habits.

They should’ve stuck to their original deal with Mike Nesmith’s video distribution company. It also would have saved them that big court settlement.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:03 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Joss Whedon's (barf) rendition was the first time that I really understood-understood Shakespeare, and enjoyed watching it. Forgive me, I'm a Young

Right, Whedon aside, watching a bunch of actors I'm familiar with really added to the play. But I'm switching back and forth between Whedon's production and the In The Park version, and Whedon's is so...dead and unnatural. I only recognize a face or two in this one but it's a bunch of people sitting around in a backyard having fun and laughing naturally. It's amazing!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:36 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Sad face. I only managed to see a short preview of this a while back, and Danielle Brooks looked amazing--just full of energy, and delivering the language beautifully.

I'm in the UK, though, and I can't load the video. Looks like I'll have to work some VPN magic in the next day or two and watch.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:56 PM on August 12




You're a gentleperson and a scholar, teraflop. That worked beautifully.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:40 PM on August 12


This is blowing my mind. Somehow the lighting and the laughter from the live studio audience and the wonderfully natural delivery is convincing part of my mind that I'm watching a 90s sitcom. But then it's somehow the most delightfully funny and well-written sitcom in history and the cast is amazing.

Thanks, storybored. I love it. (And thank you teraflop for helping find a convenient way to watch it.)
posted by straight at 8:31 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


The one thing I liked about Whedon's version was the Dogberry/Night Watch stuff. Which shocked the hell out of me because Nathan Fillion usually annoys me whatever character he is playing, and even with the best will and skill the Dogberry sequences normally drag a production down. So it was weird to have them be the best in a version. Amy Acker was also a pretty good Beatrice, but sadly paired with a very limp Benedick.
posted by tavella at 10:56 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


My dear friend (and former babysittee) Daniel Croix Henderson is in this as Balthasar. I saw it in person. I’m just thrilled and proud it’s getting so much life.
posted by Riverine at 8:33 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


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