Much to my surprise, the poll ended and “Much Ado About Nothing” was chosen as my first play by William Shakespeare to read. I was hoping for something else to pull ahead and win, but it seems as though I was destined to read this.
I actually really like this play and in fact, it’s my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays (that I’ve read thus far). I really enjoy his comedies and I think they are far more entertaining than his tragedies, or his histories. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good gloomy story like “Macbeth,” I just prefer something a little lighter—and a play where everything does get resolved in a pleasant way in the end.
I first read “Much Ado about Nothing” in high school. In my A.P. English class senior year, my teacher showed us the 1993 film version which is an excellent adaptation of the play. It’s fairly accurate. I also love the fact that it combines well-known Shakespearian actors with Hollywood actors. There is a big difference. The version I am speaking of has the following cast members: Kenneth Branagh as Benedick (you might recognize him as Gilderoy Lockhart from the HP movies), Emma Thompson as Beatrice, Denzel Washington as Don Pedro, Keanu Reeves as Don John the Bastard (a very funny performance by the way), and Kate Beckinsale as Hero (one of my favorite actresses).
One of the reasons I love the film so much is that it really captured the essence of the play. On later readings, I could remember moments and scenes from the film that made the play come alive in my head. Also, I just loved seeing Keanu Reeves in a role “pre-Matrix.”
Anyway, even though I was initially said that I was re-reading one of my favorite plays so early on in this project, it will be a good place to start. I can save the challenge of reading something completely new for the next Shakespeare selection.
*I should point out now that I know that this is not a "book" as the title indicates. But for the purposes of this blog and keeping track of what I am reading, each piece that I am reading is simply being called a "book." It makes sense in my head.*