Friday, July 5, 2013

Joss Whedon’s "Much Ado About Nothing"

Joss Whedon of The Avengers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame has directed a film version of Much Ado About Nothing that's received critical plaudits, and rightfully so. Though the setting is entirely modern with one of the supernumeraries cast as an in house photographer, Shakespeare’s classic figures, the headstrong and the well defended Beatrice (Amy Acker) who loves with “an enraged affection,” and Benedick who declares “’till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace,” are still as Shakespeare had them, charmingly combative and two sides of he same coin. This is not a Shakespeare for our times, but for all time and the contemporaneity exists to facilitate the reading of the text, in such a way that at times you forget you are seeing Shakespeare. The words are there, but any hint of archness is gone and you begin to relate to Shakespearean dialogue the way you would to everyday speech. Whedon’s Much Ado is not the kind of Shakespeare in modern dress that we’ve seen where the plays are interpreted so that we recognize them as allegories of modern angst, as was the case with Peter’s Brook’s l962 production of King Lear, influenced by Jan Kott’s famous essay “King Lear or Endgame.” In this regard the Whedon’s Much Ado achieves the kind of intimacy with a classic text that Andre Gregory, Louis Malle and Wally Shawn did in the film of  Vanya on 42nd Street and Gregory and Shawn are doing in their long awaited production of The Master Builder (some scenes of which were previewed in the recent Andre: Gregory Before and After Dinner). Whedon’s Much Ado makes you laugh and cry and is a reminder that it’s still possible to lose yourself in a Shakespearean text.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.