Sunday, June 2, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing and Everything at Once

Most people, if they are English majors, are forced to read obscene amounts of Shakespeare. And when I say read, let's face it, I mean skim and find summaries for each Act online. For years, English has been my main subject. I've flopped back and forth between teaching it and just taking the classes to have that little piece of paper that says “Congratulations on your degree, now go get a real job”. All of which is a mask for the fact that I want to write for a living. Due to this, Shakespeare and I have become really close. I consider him that distant stepbrother that I kind of don't like but need to take an interest in his life because mom and dad tell me I do. (Dear stepbrother – I don't feel this way about you. It's okay). In preparation for the upcoming Much Ado About Nothing film, I decided to try and put my feelings for Shakespeare aside and *gasp* read one of his stories all on my own. A funny thing happened during this process. I enjoyed it.

I'm a firm believer that Shakespeare is to be seen, not read. Reading Shakespeare often results in blurry eyes and the feelings of fatigue for me. Much Ado was pleasantly surprising, though. It was witty and at times laugh out loud funny. I don't generally associate classics with that. The dialogue here was smart, however, and when I finished the play, I wanted more. Now, maybe this is the English student in me coming out, but I found myself actually sitting over a cup of coffee and arguing the merits of why this was a good play. When someone declared to me that Beatrice and Benedict couldn't possibly be in love and that their delusions of love were too quick to be believable, I heard myself answering in kind with textual evidence as to why this person was wrong. I don't know whether to feel ashamed that I had obviously thought long and hard about this situation, or extremely pleased.

From the beginning, the film adaptation has looked great. It's directed by Joss Whedon so I don't know how it won't be. If you haven't seen the trailer, I recommended viewing it now ( After reading this book, I find myself even more excited for the release date. The clever and quick barbs between Beatrice and Benedict are sure to be amusing and Claudio's... faults (we'll go with that so as not to spoil) are ones that I'm eager to see played out on screen. If there is a Shakespeare play that was hand written for Joss Whedon to direct, it would be this.

So, if you can get passed the Elizabethean dialogue, I recommend a quick run through of Much Ado About Nothing. It's not like the previous plays I've read. If you cannot and think that I'm lying and just trying to get you to join my pain, at least go see the new movie. It's bound to be enjoyable. 

Furthermore, please tell me someone else out there has had this experience as well?  Have you ever had an author you hate but begrudgingly love all at once? 

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