Ohlone College Theatre and Dance In the News

Much Ado About Nothing prep begins

By Elise Leon, Staff writer.

Thursday, September 13, 2007—Reprinted from Monitor.

Ohlone’s fall play, a modern adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s comedies, is planned by Drama Director Tom Blank.

Auditions for the cast were held during the last week in May, but the final casting call was held only recently.

Tom Blank demonstrates to students on a stage.Director Tom Blank and the cast of Ohlone’s Production of Much Ado About Nothing rehearse. —Staff photo.

The original play’s theme of unpredictable love happens between characters during the 1500s. The modern version is set in the women’s revolution for suffrage in San Francisco during the early 1900’s.

The idea of women constrained by society fits well into the central theme of Shakespeare’s play but is designed to provide it with an interesting twist.

Much in the style of silent films, the production will use pre-recorded sounds to supplement the acting with a comedic touch.

Director Blank is excited to see this new approach to Shakespeare come to life.

“Even though it’s a brilliant play, picturing men in tights is funny nowadays,” he said.

“The director’s job is to tailor the play in order to find a freshness or a new meaning for the audience.

“San Francisco during the 1906 time was a romantic period; it was a world-class area because of the art world, theater as well as opera.

“The play will be a mixture of vaudeville, ragtime, and silent movies, which will make the visuals grab the audience and make them feel as if they’re a part of the play.”

Blank’s vision carries through in his direction.

In anticipation of working with the difficult Shakespearean dialogue, Blank’s cast has teamed up with Cynthia Katona’s Shakespeare class, as well as several other classes around campus.

The cast is equally excited about their upcoming production and the roles they will play.

“Beatrice in this play is very independent and a very strong woman that seems to rebel against the very common conventions of that time - for example, marriage,” said actress Heidi Burn of her character.

“She is very demanding verbally-wise toward the other characters.”

This is Burn’s first play at Ohlone, although she has done other plays with the Kern Shakespeare Festival.

This is her second play in Fremont.

This is already the second week of rehearsals for the play, despite the fact that opening day isn’t until November.

According to Blank, the cast is demonstrating a considerable amount of dedication by rehearsing several times a week and working closely with other students around campus.

The play will take place at Ohlone’s Smith Center, with performances beginning on Nov. 9 and 10 and continuing Nov. 15-17.

Ohlone will also host several matinee performances for local high schools in addition to regular performances.