The death of George Floyd and the protests that followed affected almost everyone in one way or another. The Pandemic Theatre decided to postpone showing Act IV of “Much Ado About Nothing” for one week in a show of support. Act IV was released with Act V which concluded this much beloved Shakespeare play.
ACT IV & V
Act IV opened with guest performers called the St. Olaf Community Players from Minnesota. They requested that any money earned from this performance go to the Minneapolis Fringe Festival that had been cancelled due to the pandemic. Due to the light nature of the play, they also debated if the show should go on after all the protests in their home state. They decided to go forward and did a wonderful job with those interesting Scandinavian Minnesotan accents and complete gender reversal of roles. Thanks goes to Erin Denman, Sarah Broude, Amber Bjork, Ali Daniels, Joy Dolo, Victoria Pyan, David Schlosser, and Duck Washington for doing such a great job.
The remaining acts exhibited the ingenuity we saw in the first three.
The remaining acts exhibited the ingenuity we saw in the first three. Matt Castleman voiced over plastic figures. Dylan Arredondo used some sculptures and a geode while he voiced several roles. Some scenes had pets like Funshine the Cat who appeared with Anna Clare Harris and Davie Harris. Meredith Garagiola, Conor Patrick Donahue, and Nick Bryon tossed a football as they performed a scene with Don Pedro, Benedict, and Claudio. Ryan Driscoll used hair-dos and costumes to do her parts of Benedict and Margaret. The bathroom again was used and made a great jail for Suzy Alden and Sarah Yarborough. In one of those wonderful Beatrice and Benedict scenes, Danny Cackley and Jenna Berk acted outside on a deck. Face paint and makeup helped Charlotte Vaughn Raines cleverly pull-off several roles. One different take was Kathleen Akerley did her scene of Claudio and Don Pedro using writing and drawings. The final scene with Danny Cackley and Jenna Burk used stuff animals to play the other roles while they again performed Beatrice and Benedict. Hats off to Acacia Danielson, Grace Brockway, and Séamus Miller for stepping up as last-minute understudies for two scenes in Act V.
All five acts were great fun to watch. Hopefully, the inventiveness of the actors will help bring in some funds to the Pandemic Theatre’s causes. Unfortunately, you can no longer see “Much Ado About Nothing” by the group, but they may reissue it at a later time. Hopefully, the group will be doing other productions to help out theatres in this area while stage fans long for the days we can watch live productions once again.
Running Time: One hour for both acts.
Note: Be sure to read reviews of Acts I, II and III previously posted by Maryland Theatre Guide here.