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Much Ado About Something: The Shakespeare Series

posted Jun 1, 2013, 10:53 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Jun 11, 2013, 12:48 PM ]

Ever seen a Shakespeare Production and wondered "What the Heck is going on?" Well, ARTFARM is here to help!

Much Ado About Something is a three-part class series offered by ARTFARM as part of Middlesex Community College’s Continuing Education Program. Each of the three classes addresses a different aspect of the play and ARTFARM’s production. They are intended to help the layperson, the curious, or the scholar better understand and enjoy ARTFARM’s production of Much Ado About Nothing.

You can choose to take all the classes, two of the classes, or just one! (details of each class below)

Part 1: The Story, Setting, and Characters

This class focuses on the story and characters of Much Ado About Nothing. Who are the primary and secondary characters? What are the main plot lines and sub-plots and how do they intertwine to create the whole? What are the sources and background of the piece? What are the primary themes addressed by the play? What is the physical setting of the play, and why did Shakespeare choose it? What is the play’s historical context? Participants in the class will receive a broad overview of the story, characters, and setting of the play.

Saturday, June 8, 10 am to noon            Instructor: Dic Wheeler


Part 2: Unlocking Shakespeare’s Language 

This class focuses on Shakespeare’s language and verse, using Much Ado About Nothing as the primary textual example. Students will be given tools to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s language and make both reading and hearing it less intimidating. Topics will include metrical structure, understanding scansion, verse vs. prose, language as “stage directions” for actors, and developing an ear for Shakespeare. This will be an “off the page and on your feet” workshop in which participants will get their bodies, breath, and mouths around Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter.

Saturday, June 15, 10 am to noon                           Instructor: Marcella Trowbridge


Part 3: The Shakespeare Production

This class focuses on this particular production of Much Ado About Nothing -- the director’s interpretation and production concept; design elements including set, costume, prop, sound, and light design; musical direction; choreography; stage combat; and the technical aspects and challenges of putting on a professional outdoor Shakespeare production. Participants in the class will be offered a conceptual overview of ARTFARM’s summer production. Participants will get “behind the scenes” insight into how and why certain decisions are made, how a production team works together and communicates effectively, particular challenges posed by this play, and how music and design elements are integrated into the rehearsal process and production. We will look at the specific roles played by each designer, the musical director, choreographers and coaches, the technical staff, and the all-important functions of the stage manager.

Saturday, June 22, 10 am to noon
        Instructors: Dic Wheeler, Marcella Trowbridge,
                                                                                            and Production Staff and Designers

Registration and payment is through Middlesex Community College, not ARTFARM. Tuition is $26 per class. To register for “The Shakespeare Series”, contact The Continuing Education Office at MxCC:


ALSO, join us for TWO “OPEN REHEARSALS” this summer –see how sausage is made! No charge.

Wednesday, June 19 and Tuesday, July 2, 6 – 8 pm

...AND two "Community Tech Days" in which you can get grubby and help build the set for Much Ado --

Saturdays, June 8 & 15, 2 - 5 pm

Much Ado About Something is part of “Shakespeare on Campus, 2013”, a six month partnership between ARTFARM and Middlesex Community College, which will culminate in the Shakespeare in the Grove production of “Much Ado About Nothing” July 18 – 28.
"Shakespeare on Campus” is partially funded by the Connecticut Office of the Arts.