NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Thinkery & Verse has received a commission to produce William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in the summer of 2018. In collaboration with Susan Morano, Suzanne's Specialties, and St. John the Evangelist's Episcopal Church, Much Ado About Nothing will appear at the Assembly Hall of St. John the Evangelist, 189 George Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and then tour throughout the tri-state region.

Tickets are now available online at: Performances begin at 8pm on June 14-17, 20-23, 28-30, and July 5-7. 

The story in brief: Benedict and Beatrice, Shakespeare’s whip-smart and quarrelsome lovers, must choose sides when their friends confront each other over a young woman’s perceived infidelity.

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The production will be directed by J. M. Meyer with a tight-knit cast of just three other actors: Hannah Hale (Benedict/Verges/Conrade/Margaret), Regan Sims (Beatrice/Dogberry/Balthasar/Antonio/Friar), and Karen Alvarado (Claudio/Hero/Don John/Sexton). Designs by Ashley Basile.

Come join Thinkery & Verse in June and July to see a classic play performed with a modern edge in a historic building.

According to Karen Alvarado, "We have it in our power to make the art we want to make right here, right now--we don't need to wait on New York. We also have the opportunity to embrace a truly theatrical style. We're not pursuing perfection, we're pursuing an art that feels dynamic, more immediate, more alive, more passionate." 

"It's a gloriously rough and tumble 'Much Ado,' Meyer reports. "I've never had this much fun in the rehearsal room. With only four actors, the collaboration is quite tight, earnest, and honest. It helps that Regan Sims and Hannah Hale came straight out of Mason Gross. Their training lends them a professional focus and confidence that allows us focus solely on the work." 

Throughout the process, the four artists have been accompanied by the steady coming and goings of the congregation at St. John the Evangelist, with local artists invited to "crash" the rehearsals, and Karen and John's eight month-old baby, Matthew "Mateo" Marlowe. 

"Mateo sets the energy level in the room," Alvarado says. "He lets us know when we need a break, when we need a snack, or when the play gets a little too scary. He can sit up, but he can't crawl yet: he's the very definition of a focused (if captive) audience member." 

The four person casts induces some zaniness. At one point, the whole cast turns into a pack of dogs to chase down the villains of the play. During a climactic wedding scene, the actors change characters with a breathless pace, but aim for drama, not just slapstick. 

"Shakespeare never let's go of the social context in his comedies," Meyer says. "He wants us to feel the striving, the hope, the humiliation. We can be truthful to that even as Benedict and Beatrice dazzle us."

Much Ado About Nothing runs from June 14th to July 7th at the Assembly Hall of St. John the Evangelist, 189 George Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 regular, $15 concession.