By Jesus Figueroa
The Theatre Arts Department brings the classic Shakespearean comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” to more recent times to open up the spring semester’s productions.
Kelley Hogan, East Los Angeles College acting instructor and play director, made small changes to “Much Ado about nothing.” Instead of the play taking place in Messina on the Island of Sicily in the 16th century, it takes place in Southern California during World War II.
“I am usually a purist when it comes to Shakespeare, but I wanted to challenge myself and give the students the experience of performing in an updated production, since this is very common in the professional theater world today,” Hogan said.
Much of the story is the same. However, some aspects of the play are different.
There are more female characters added, some lines have been adapted to other characters and the locations of scenes are modified, but the integrity of the play is intact.
“I don’t think there is anything unusual per se, but Jim Johnson’s set has a surprise for the audience,” Hogan said.
“Much Ado” was chosen to continue on with the theme of this year’s plays. Each school year a theme is carried on throughout the fall and winter semester, and each director decides on a play which fits the theme of the previous play.
“I selected Much Ado About Nothing because it is a fantastic comedy.I also have had the idea to adapt a Shakespeare play to a modern time period for quite awhile.The fact that this play is predominantly in prose, as opposed to poetry, gave me more freedom to change dialogue,” Hogan said.
The Theatre Arts Department will be working on setting up a special morning performance tentatively on March 27 for high school student to come see the play.