Utah company to stage ‘Much Ado’ as Shakespeare intended

The poster for Grassroots Shakespeare's upcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing is shown, courtesy of Grassroots Shakespeare.

For four nights, the Orem SCERA Center for the Arts and the Grassroots Shakespeare Company will present what is considered the original romantic comedy–William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Utah’s Grassroots Shakespeare Company, a local touring group, is dedicated to “original practice,” or producing shows with Shakespeare’s original staging and production techniques. The shows have no director. Instead, the cast stages the show themselves, often in a matter of days. Audience participation is expected and encouraged.

“I love the opportunity Grassroots provides for actors and performers to create something they’re proud of,” producer and longtime company actor Jessamyn Svensson said. “Grassroots is an experiment that is actor-focused. There’s no one person leading the show, so the actors have to make choices and commit. The result is something audiences have fun with and really love.”

In this classic, two soldiers return to their hometown after a war: Benedick, a clever young man, and Claudio, a well-respected nobleman. Awaiting their return are Leonato, his daughter Hero and his niece Beatrice. As the returning soldiers settle in, love and mischief abound. Misunderstandings lead to laugh-out-loud moments, as well as heartbreaking ones. According to Svensson, this is a show the company keeps coming back to.

“We have a general goal of doing all of Shakespeare’s shows, but we keep coming back to what we love,” says Svensson. “The SCERA wanted something accessible, and this show has a large cast and so many different parts for everyone.”

Much Ado About Nothing runs January 16-19. Performances begin at 7:30. You can purchase tickets here.

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