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Monday, July 22, 2013

Talking About Whedon's *Much Ado*!






What a wonderful conversation at the Film Talk for the new film of Much Ado About Nothing at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on Sunday!  Over a hundred filmgoers stayed for the talk, which featured Union College professor and Whedon scholar Tanya Cochran, along with Flatwater Shakespeare's own Becky Key Boesen, Bob Hall, and Stephen Buhler.  (All seen in the photo above, taken by Michelle Zinke.)

And the conversation continues!  Here are excerpts from our friend Dorothy Booraem's Facebook posting about the film and from the responses it inspired. (Dorothy, by the way, is a wonderfully talented independent film maker herself!) 

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I have seen Joss Whedon's Much Ado.

Thought #1: can it be truly compared to the 1994 Much Ado movie starring Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Robert Sean Leonard, Denzel and Keanu? After some thought I've decided no, it cannot be compared. The worlds are different - despite both being the same story, shown on the big screen, 2013 MA is like peeking through a keyhole to see what happens. 1994 MA is like a blown rose. A smaller world is not a flaw, it's just a fact of how the film was shot and directed.

Thought #2: Nathan Fillion's Dogberry was superior to Michael Keaton's Dogberry. IMO, of course, but I felt NF brought more honest character to the role and his humor was more easily understood than MK's. NF's reaction on "you are an ass" was hilarious and heartbreaking.

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Thought #5: How sweet it was to see Wesley and Fred finally consummate their love. It practically broke me when Angel ended so harshly, lo those many years ago. And now, happiness!

Oh there's more, but my memory of a sold out theater in Denver . . .  hearing the crowd applaud as the soldiers rode in on their steeds while the Leonato household scrambled to get ready is fragmenting my attention for now.

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Imagine that watching that scene from Branagh's version in an Atlanta theater packed with scholars attending a Shakespeare Association of America meeting. Great applause and (approving) laughter -- especially as the title appeared.

I haven't seen Fillion, but Keaton was horrible.

I love the intro to Branagh's film.

And somehow, for me, Whedon's version is less insular than Branagh's -- everyone attending the wedding and (deceptive) funeral in KB's film seem to be workers or retainers on Leonato's estate. In Whedon's version, they're in Leonato's circle, but also part of a larger community -- hence the importance of clearing Hero's and the family's name.

I agree about Keaton -- although lots of people love that turn. I'm not sure KB really trusts those comic roles in Shakespeare, so he doesn't direct them very well . . . even in *Henry V*, can we recognize Pistol, Bardolph, and Nym as funny?

Fillion, by the way, does a great job as Dogberry (at times, he's very like Tom Crew)!

Oh sigh. That's too much thought for me tonight. I'm simply enjoying The Buffy Marathon on tonight.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

She's Our Hero!

My work with Flatwater Shakespeare began when I was in 6th  grade and I was in their youth production of The Comedy of Errors directed by Tom Crew.

I never had a strong aversion to Shakespeare when I was younger, as some students do, but I also wasn’t drawn to it. Even after The Comedy of Errors, I wasn’t “hooked.” Still, my parents thought it was a beneficial experience for me to have.  So I played Armado in the youth production of Love’s Labor’s Lost the following year.  It was after this production that I began to enjoy Shakespeare’s works more and more. I continued to play in the youth productions for several more years, appearing in Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona.  

My passion for Shakespeare and his works grew as the years went on. - See more at: http://nrtbehindthecurtain.blogspot.com/2013/06/flatwater-shakespeare-from-youth.html#sthash.wqUHsroW.dpuf
My work with Flatwater Shakespeare began when I was in 6th  grade and I was in their youth production of The Comedy of Errors directed by Tom Crew.

I never had a strong aversion to Shakespeare when I was younger, as some students do, but I also wasn’t drawn to it. Even after The Comedy of Errors, I wasn’t “hooked.” Still, my parents thought it was a beneficial experience for me to have.  So I played Armado in the youth production of Love’s Labor’s Lost the following year.  It was after this production that I began to enjoy Shakespeare’s works more and more. I continued to play in the youth productions for several more years, appearing in Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona.  

My passion for Shakespeare and his works grew as the years went on. - See more at: http://nrtbehindthecurtain.blogspot.com/2013/06/flatwater-shakespeare-from-youth.html#sthash.wqUHsroW.dpuf



From Emma Gruhl --

"My work with Flatwater Shakespeare began when I was in 6th grade and I was in their youth production of The Comedy of Errors directed by Tom Crew.

"I never had a strong aversion to Shakespeare when I was younger, as some students do, but I also wasn’t drawn to it . . . I continued to play in the youth productions for several more years, appearing in Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona . . . My passion for Shakespeare and his works grew as the years went on."

See more at:

http://nrtbehindthecurtain.blogspot.com/2013/06/flatwater-shakespeare-from-youth.html

and support the Nebraska Repertory 2013 Season (you'll see lots of familiar faces)!

Photo: Emma Gruhl as Hero and Alexander Jeffrey as Claudio in Flatwater Shakespeare's Summer 2013 production of Much Ado About Nothing Photo Credit: Evert Claesson.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Film Talk at the Ross: Joss Whedon's *Much Ado*




Sunday, July 21st, at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center,
313 N. 13th Street in Lincoln.

After the 12 noon screening of Whedon's present-day version of Much Ado on July 21, stay in the theater and talk about the film with Becky Key Boesen, who directed Flatwater Shakespeare's Summer 2013 production of the play; Bob Hall, Artistic Director of Flatwater Shakespeare, who has directed the play multiple times; and Stephen Buhler, Education Director of Flatwater Shakespeare and author of Shakespeare in the Cinema: Ocular Proof

From the Ross website:

Shakespeare's classic comedy is given a contemporary spin in Joss Whedon's film, Much Ado About Nothing. Shot in just 12 days (and using the original text), the story of sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick offers a dark, sexy and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love. (c) Roadside Attractions

“. . .lovers of the Bard are in for an exhilarating surprise. Even iambic pentameter can't trip up Whedon . . . an irresistible blend of mirth and malice.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

". . .an absolute delight... No one currently working knows better than Whedon how to present eternal themes to contemporary audiences in such a forward-thinking manner.”—Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

“...wit, romantic chemistry, sharp characterization, tough-ass heroines, and dramatic confrontations.... Whedon approaches the story with a tremendous amount of joy.”—Chris Packham, Village Voice/LA Weekly



The film runs at the Ross Friday, July 19 through Thursday, August 1.
 

For more information, visit theross.org.