On the Run: Much ado about NOthing

Posted by: Staffon 2017/1/9 13:33:41 715 reads Much Ado About Nothing
Dec. 25-Jan 15, 2017

Main Street Theater (MST) continues its partnership with Prague Shakespeare Company (PSC) in presenting PSC’s Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, directed by Guy Roberts, Artistic Director of Prague Shakespeare Company and native Houstonian.

Shakespeare’s beloved comedy of love, languish and language in a smart new production from Prague Shakespeare Company. Set in World War II Britain, a group of nurses, wounded servicemen and patriots produce a radio broadcast of Much Ado About Nothing to raise morale of the troops on the front.

One of the things that makes the production unique is that each performance is audio-broadcast live over the internet ala an old fashioned radio play. Audiences at home can enjoy being transported back to 1942 to what might have been a live performance of Much Ado About Nothing performed by World War II era men and women uniting together to a little touch of Shakespeare in the night.

Audiences in the theater not only watch the actors record a radio play version of Much Ado… but they also get to see the actors create all the sound effects and other behind-the-scenes happenings involved with this group of soldiers and patriots putting on the show.

Featuring Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Jan Thompson, OBE as Beatrice, Jessica Boone as Hero, Guy Roberts as Benedick and Karel Heřmánek Jr. as Claudio.

This production premiered in Prague in 2015 and instantly became one of the most successful productions of PSC’s history, garnering international attention. The company played Much Ado… (and its production of Macbeth) in Egypt at the historic Library of Alexandria as part of their 2016 Shakespeare Birthday celebration.

“We are so delighted Rebecca Greene Udden has asked Prague Shakespeare Company to return to Main Street with our production of Much Ado About Nothing,” says Roberts.

MST and PSC have been partners and collaborators since 2012.

Much Ado… opens on New Year’s Eve, December 31, and runs through January 15: Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30pm; Sundays at 3:00pm at Main Street Theater – Rice Village, 2540 Times Blvd.

About the Concept for the Production

Director Guy Roberts shares, “In addition to long being fascinated with radio plays and particularly Shakespeare plays produced in radio versions, I wanted to find a way to honor the great legacy of Czech air pilots and the efforts of the Czechoslovakian Government in exile during the war. I have also always had a great fondness for the World War II era efforts of artists to cheer spirits through entertainment. Presenting this play as a group of well-intentioned amateurs producing a radio production to strengthen the resolve and warm the hearts of soldiers on the front and citizens at home allows us to honor Shakespeare and those men and women fighting to have the freedom to enjoy a good old fashioned play.

It also allows us to examine wartime practices of dehumanizing the enemy – the main “villains” of the piece are presented with extreme German accents and there is a lot of good-natured fun had at the expense of Germans – which, while appropriate and historically accurate for the time, has a different resonance now, particularly with recent events in Germany, the Middle East and Brexit in the UK and the recent US Presidential election.

Our main hope, though, is to have audiences think while they laugh and have a great time in the theatre. I am happy to say that no one laughed as much in Prague as the German Ambassador when he saw the production!”

About Prague Shakespeare Company

The Prague Shakespeare Company (located in Prague, Czech Republic), presents professional theatre productions, workshops, classes, lectures and other theatrical events of the highest quality, conducted primarily in English by a multinational ensemble of professional theatre artists. With an emphasis on the plays of William Shakespeare, the Prague Shakespeare Company brings to Czech, European and international audiences performances that are fresh, bold, imaginative, thought-provoking, and eminently accessible, connecting the truths of the past with the challenges and possibilities of today.  For information on the PSC400 Season, their year-long artistic celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, please visit PragueShakespeare.com.

About Main Street Theater

Main Street Theater provides theater experiences for all ages. Founded in 1975, the MainStage produces intimate, literary plays for adults and operates under an Actors’ Equity Association union contract; the professional Theater for Youth produces professional, engaging productions based on children’s literature for families and school groups, both in-house and on tour around Texas; and MST offers arts education and integration programs on-site and at satellite locations around the Greater Houston area for youth aged 4 – high school. The theater operates out of 2 facilities: its Rice Village home on Times. Blvd., and as part of the MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston) on Main Street.

Pictured L-R are: Claudio (Karel Heřmánek), Beatrice (Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Jan Thompson, OBE), and Hero (Jessica Boone). Photo courtesy of Prague Shakespeare Company.