Theater Info for the Washington DC region

T.C. Williams High School Much Ado About Nothing

By • Apr 18th, 2011 • Category: Cappies

Though it may have been moved to the 1950s, none of the comedy or drama of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was lost in translation in T.C. Williams’ production of one of the Bard’s best known plays.

The classic comedy follows the romantic entanglements of a group of youths at Messina High School. Claudio (Ben Ribler), and Hero (Sarah Paez) are in love and they are determined to share their joyous feelings with close friends Benedick (Zachary Frank) and Beatrice (Maria Simpkins). There’s just one problem – Benedick and Beatrice cannot stand each other. Slowly, through the hearsay of others and the magic of one’s own complex and confounding heart, Benedick and Beatrice fall for each other, but not without plenty of laughs and fun along the way.

Many accolades and applause should be given to director Marie Chapman, a student at T.C. Williams who directed the show. The task of directing a main stage production is no easy feat – and this comes from a reviewer who has taken on such a challenge before. But Chapman’s accomplishment is even more impressive as she has overseen such a large cast with many parts, identifying each character or group’s primary struggle and bringing it to the fore. The young director’s savvy arrangement of scenes and clear skill at developing relationships made the performance run well.

One such relationship was that between the members of the safety patrols, lead by Alexander Eichner as Dogberry and Leia Moran as Verges. Dogberry and Verges lead their nerd herd with dedication and an unashamed commitment to playing up their awkwardness. Eichner ordered his men with the desperate authority of a high school nerd gone wild. He had the audience in stitches the entire night. Moran developed a superb physicality, hunched over worse than a laborer carrying slabs of stone, and impressively maintained such an extreme pose for the entirety of the performance.

T.C. Williams’ production was full of energy and heart, just what is needed for a Shakespearian comedy. The only thing more impressive than the drama the school played out was the steady number of laughs they gave the audience – a true delight.

by Patrick Carnes of Freedom High School

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