Little Theatre of Owatonna has announced its spring production, a Shakespearian romantic comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing” performance dates and show times.
Performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” will be 7:30 p.m. April 21, 22, 28 and 29, with 2 p.m. matinees on April 23 and 30. Tickets are available online () and at the box office (see hours).
Jeffrey Jackson is the artistic director. Technical directors are Sandee Hardy-Hagen and Kimberly Keck. Diane Skala is the choreographer.
The play begins as war has come to an end and a group of soldiers, led by Prince Don Pedro, comes to the city of Messina and to the home of Don Pedro’s good friend Leonato, a well-respected and well-to-do nobleman. Don Pedro is accompanied by Claudio, a young nobleman, and Benedick, a witty gentleman soldier. Also in the prince’s company is Don John the bastard, as Shakespeare calls him — the sullen, illegitimate brother of the prince, who tried unsuccessfully to rebel against the prince in the war.
When the soldiers come to Leonato’s home, Claudio once again reacquaints himself with Leonato’s young daughter, Hero, with whom he falls quickly and deeply in love, much to the chagrin of Benedick, a self-professed “tyrant” to women. Soon thereafter, Claudio and Hero become engaged to be married.
At the same time, Benedick meets up with Beatrice, Leonato’s witty and independent niece. She is, perhaps, the only one who can match wits with Benedick, and the two are said to have a “merry war” between them. Or, as Leonato says of them, “They never meet but there’s some skirmish of wit between them.” So under the direction of Prince Don Pedro, the others in the group — Leonato, Claudio, Hero and Hero’s two waiting women, Margaret and Ursula — scheme to get Benedick and Beatrice to fall in love.
Things go well for all involved until the prince’s brother, Don John, with the help of his henchmen Borachio and Conrade, plots to break up the relationship between Claudio and Hero and thereby to set his brother, the prince, against Leonato. And the plot might have worked were it not for the buffoonish yet surprisingly effective work of the constable Dogberry, his chief deputy Verges and his befuddled officers of the Watch.