Love, suspense, humour and a unique setting characterised the latest performance by Shakespeare WA, Much Ado About Nothing, at the Kings Park Botanic Gardens in 2013.
The production, which ran for four weeks, was directed by Theatre Studies lecturer, Adjunct Associate Professor Paige Newmark and also included significant contributions from staff, students and alumni of The University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle.
One of the leading roles was performed by third-year Law/Arts student Sophie Lester. Front of house was managed by Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate Jayde Clark, while Theatre Studies graduate Jasmyn Woodford worked behind the scenes as the production’s General Manager.
Set in the coastal Italian city of Messina at the end of World War II, Much Ado About Nothing is a Shakespearean comedy about two pairs of lovers – Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero.
Playing the part of Hero, the beautiful and kind-hearted daughter of the Governor of Messina (Leonardo), Ms Lester said she was privileged to have been given the opportunity to perform and enhance her on-stage presence. She said she always tried to think creatively about ways of portraying the emotions of love, hurt and anger through her character each night.
“I wanted to make the audience feel the pain Hero was feeling after being rejected by her one true love,” Ms Lester said.
Ms Lester’s love of the theatre began as a student at Mercedes College. In Year 10, she played Dorothy in the school’s Wizard of Oz production and the following year scored a lead role as Captain Hook in Peter Pan.
“A massive amount of effort goes into productions such as Much Ado About Nothing.
“We practically have to build a theatre in Kings Park and take most of the set to and from the location each day for a month,” Prof Newmark said.
“The best part about working with a Shakespearean play is that it constantly challenges as a director. Every time you revisit one of his plays, there’s always something new to discover.”
Discipline Coordinator of Theatre Studies and English Literature at UNDA’s School of Arts and Sciences in Fremantle, Professor Chris Wortham, is the Chairman of the Shakespeare WA board.
Prof Wortham, an internationally recognised Shakespearean expert, said excellence in movement and gesture, clear and concise vocal projection, and an overall understanding of a play itself were core elements the Theatre Studies curriculum taught to Notre Dame students.