by Rachel Hoyt
On Thursday, September 13, a group of students piled up in a Freed-Hardeman University bus and traveled from our beloved home of Henderson and into the exciting and fast paced world of Nashville. Headed up by Dr. McLaughlin and Dr. Cargile, we took off excited to see a new twist on an old favorite, Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. The twist? The Nashville Shakespeare Festival had transformed this cherished play into a musical set in the 1940s.
Our group eagerly made our way through Centennial Park down into the lawn where the stage was set up. It was a lovely night, and quite a crowd had turned up. Sitting on blankets and waving American flags, we all prepared themselves for an interesting night full of fun and patriotism.
It was an interesting show to say the least. The endearing character of Beatrice was channeled through a Rosie the Riveter character while Benedick was a dashing and charming sailor. Strangely enough, a woman portrayed the character of Leonato, Hero's father. This was something I had never seen before, but actually loved. Having a woman in the role of what became Leonata, was extremely fun and fit into the story very well. This probably was also due to the fact that the actress who played Leonata, Martha Wilkinson, was absolutely brilliant.
As far as the musical portion of the show, some songs fit very nicely into the plot. Given the setting and time period that this show was put in, they appeared to belong there from the very beginning. Others were a little rougher, but overall the musical aspect of the show went along very nicely.
At the end of the day Beatrice and Benedick fell in love and Claudio married Hero, which is pretty much what any lover of this show is looking for. With that accomplished, we were able to head home with a smile on our faces and a song in our hearts. Probably something that involved "gee whiz" or "swell."