A Season in Parts
Elizabeth E. Tavares, director of research
Each season of the Alabama Shakespeare Project is an experiment. This season, we are focusing on a specific research question across the academic year: what does it mean to play a part?
Much Ado About a Prefix
Charles Bell, company member
In a review of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (2013), Shiela O’Malley states, “Beatrice and Benedick steal the show, though, in this version and in every version I’ve seen, on film or on stage.” O’Malley is not alone in this focus on Beatrice and Benedick. Claire McEachern calls them “the darlings of the theatre,” a couple “whose sparring and eventual capitulation to each other has kept people laughing and weeping for centuries.” Those familiar with the film versions of the play directed by Kenneth Branagh (1993) and later Whedon can picture the way their love story finishes: Hero and Claudio have been reunited, and Beatrice and Benedick resort to their old habits, denying their love for each other and bickering. In the end, however, Benedick exclaims, “Peace! I will stop your mouth” (5.4.85), and they finally kiss.
Or do they?