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OPEN AUDITIONS: Majesticpiece Theatre presents Much Ado About Nothing
MAJESTICPIECE THEATRE PRESENTS: Much Ado About Nothing
By: William Shakespeare
Directed and adapted by Brandi Douglas
To be performed Saturday, June 20 at 7:30pm on Facebook Live
Dress rehearsal Friday, June 19 at 6:00pm
Readthrough on Wednesday, June 17 at 6:00pm
From the director:
Inspired by the performance of this play in 2019 directed by Kenny Leon, I want to bring in elements of life during and after COVID without changing the eternal words of Shakespeare. The backdrop of this play takes place in 2021. An uprising has occurred and Americans have finally had enough of the systemic oppression that has plagued this country. There was finally a revolution…that is where the soldiers in Much Ado are returning from. I want to show what a joyful return home could look like when oppression has finally been defeated and we can our authentic selves for better and for worse. This is my hope for this performance. It may be ambitious, but it never hurts to try.
Much Ado About Nothing opens with Don Pedro and his men, his chief lieutenants Claudio and Benedick among them, returning from the Revolution of 2021. Claudio loves Leonato’s daughter Hero and Don Pedro helps him to get engaged to her. Meanwhile Beatrice, Leonato’s niece, and Benedick continue to exchange their witty insults and insist that it’s not flirting. However no one believes that so their friends devised a way to get them to fall in love and get married. Don Pedro has a brother named Don John who absolutely HATES HIM. Don John decides to ruin the relationship between Claudio and Hero by setting up a lie, which depicts her as being a hoe.
Welp…that’s enough synopsis for you. You’ll need to watch the performance to see how it all goes down.
Please choose ONE of the following sides. Record a video on your phone or computer of you
reading the side, and email it to Brandi.Douglas1@gmail.com by 5PM on Monday, June 15.
Feel free to include what role you’re interested in within the body of the email.
- Perform while seated, trying to frame yourself from the shoulders up. This is what you’ll look like in the video chat during the performance, so we’ll want to see how well you can emote in this limited space.
- Props and costume pieces are encouraged! Whatever you have lying around. Just keep in mind that we can only see your torso and head!
- Actors of any gender, age, race, or ability are invited to audition for any role. We will be casting 14-21 performers and one Emergency Backup Actor, an understudy for all roles who can hop into the digital performance at any time to cover for another actor who might be experiencing technical difficulties.
- In order to participate in the performance, you’ll need a stable internet connection; a smartphone, computer, or tablet that can run Zoom; and a pair of headphones.
- If you have any questions, feel free to email and ask!
LEONATO, Governor of Messina
HERO, his daughter
BEATRICE, his niece
ANTONIO, Leonato’s brother
Waiting gentlewomen to Hero:
DON PEDRO, Prince of Aragon
COUNT CLAUDIO, a young lord from Florence
SIGNIOR BENEDICK, a gentleman from Padua
DON JOHN, Don Pedro's brother
Don John's followers:
DOGBERRY, Master Constable in Messina
VERGES, Dogberry's partner
GEORGE SEACOAL, leader of the Watch
BENEDICK (after he overhears a conversation about how Beatrice has feels for him)
This can be no trick. The conference was sadly borne; they have the truth of this from Hero; they seem to pity the lady. It seems her affections have their full bent. Love me? Why, it must be requited! I hear how I am censured. They say I will bear myself proudly if I perceive the love come from her. They say, too, that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry. I must not seem proud. Happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness. And virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot reprove it. And wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her! I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me because I have railed so long against marriage, but doth not the appetite alter? The world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day, she's a fair lady. I do spy some marks of love in her.
BEATRICE (after she overhears a conversation about how Benedick has feels for him)
What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much?
Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adieu!
No glory lives behind the back of such.
And Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.
If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
To bind our loves up in a holy band.
For others say thou dost deserve, and I
Believe it better than reportingly.
HERO (after being accused of lying with another man)
They know that do accuse me. I know none.
If I know more of any man alive
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy!--O my father,
Prove you that any man with me conversed
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintained the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!
DON PEDRO – PRINCE (planning to woo Hero for Claudio)
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her and with her father,
And thou shalt have her. Was 't not to this end
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have reveling tonight.
I will assume thy part in some disguise
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale.
Then after to her father will I break,
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
In practice let us put it presently.
CLAUDIO (speaking about his love for Hero)
O, my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I looked upon her with a soldier's eye,
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love.
But now I am returned and that war thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is.
DON JOHN (speaking about why he is so sad)
I cannot hide what I am. I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests;
eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and
tend on no man's business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humor.
LEONATO (speaking about how Beatrice is always happy)
There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord. She is never sad but when she
sleeps, and not ever sad then, for I have heard my daughter say she hath often dreamt
of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.
BORACHIO (planning with Don John to trick Don Pedro and Count Claudio)
Go then, find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and the Count Claudio alone. Tell
them that you know that Hero loves me. They will scarcely believe this without trial.
Offer them instances, which shall bear no less likelihood than to see me at her chamber
window, hear me call Margaret "Hero," hear Margaret term me "Claudio," and bring
them to see this the very night before the intended wedding.
URSULA (speaking to Hero about Benedick’s love for Beatrice)
O, do not do your cousin such a wrong!
She cannot be so much without true judgment,
Having so swift and excellent a wit
As she is prized to have, as to refuse
So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.
DOGBERRY (after being called an ass by Conrade)
Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O, that he were here
to write me down an ass! But masters, remember that I am an ass, though it be not
written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.--No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as
shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow and, which is more, an
officer and, which is more, a householder and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh
as any is in Messina. Bring him away.--O, that I had been writ down an ass!