The newly-founded Grassroots Shakespeare Company is a rare treasure of Utah Valley theater. Created and peopled by local college students, Grassroots uses the techniques that acting companies used in Shakespeare’s day to create plays that are “fast-paced, funny, intriguing, and simple,” according to grassrootsshakespeare.blogspot.com
Grassroots is currently performing Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s most loved comedies. All performances are outdoors in natural light. Check the box below for dates and times.
Utahan Shakespeare fans have seen the bard’s plays at the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar city, and among several traditional theater venues in Utah Valley. However, the Grassroots’ production of Much Ado About Nothing is the most enjoyable Shakespeare production Utahan theatergoers have had the chance to see in at least the last five years.
The actors are unapologetic. Generally, performing without a stage, so close to the audience, and with makeshift costumes and sets is too embarrassing for an actor to handle. This embarrassment comes across as a continual, agonizing apology to the audience for subjecting them to the performance. However, these young actors have chosen to perform under such conditions. The jury-rigged, ad hoc design features serve the story surprisingly well.
The story has been shortened to run at a little over an hour. Despite the amputated script, the plot comes across with startling clarity. This simple coherence is thanks to the actor’s denial of professional theatric traditions, specifically their rejection of a “fourth wall” between the stage and the audience. Here, the story is told to audience members, rather than at them, as plays that take themselves more seriously are wont to do.
Shakespeare’s plays have in general become over-intellectualized and haughty. However, they were originally written to be enjoyed by all classes of society – from the poor and uneducated to Queen Elizabeth. The Grassroots Shakespeare Company has brought Shakespeare back to the common man – you don’t have to be an English major or an intellectual prick to understand and enjoy this story.
For more news about the Grassroots Shakespeare company, visit grassrootsshakespeare.blogspot.com or search for them on Facebook.
What: Much Ado About Nothing
Price: Free, but donations are accepted
Monday, June 22 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the Castle Amphitheater, 1300 E. Center St., Provo
Friday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. at a location to be announced
Saturday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Canyon Glen Park Amphitheater, up Provo Canyon
Monday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m. at The Mount Timpanogos Trail, 900 N. Mount Timpanogos Blvd., Provo