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Much Ado About Nothing - Opens June 29, 2024

Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare
adapted and directed by Glenn Havlan
produced by Actors Ensemble of Berkeley
4 p.m. Saturday/Sunday June 29th - July 14th plus Thursday, July 4th.
John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre
41 Somerset Pl.,  Berkeley, CA 94707.
Performances are Free of Charge | Reservations

Actors Ensemble presents  the first of two produuctions for our Summer 2024 season in the  John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre, Much Ado About Nothing, in a modern-dress adaption by Glenn Havlan and Gaby Schneider and directed by Glenn Havlan.  Free-of-charge, reservations encouraged (especially for those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility) but not necessary.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's most-loved comedies, revolving around two couples, Hero and Claudio and Beatrice and Benedick, who seek true love despite the machinations of the villain Don John via "Nothing" (rumor, innuendo, gossip), but with the help of the intrepid neighborhood watch, led by the hapless Dogberry.

These days, so much revisionist Shakespeare attempts to decentralize the main protagonists, to invent agency for repressed characters, to change the play to convey an intended message. But we’re going to see what we get when we see and hear different people, modern people, take over the positions, intents, and language of these characters.  What happens when Much Ado About Nothing is set in 2024?  What if the traditional gender roles are scrambled - Beatrice and Benedick, Leonato as Leonora, Borachio and Francis?  What if an inclusive society is portrayed in any and all characters and their personalities?  In this way, we aim to present a  21st Century Shakespeare for Our Times, without losing what makes Shakespeare - Shakespeare.

Performances will be at 4 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday afternoons at John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre, 41 Somerset Pl., Berkeley, CA 94707, from June 29th through July  14th plus Independence Day, Thursday, July 4th.

With: Marc Berman (Antonio), David Cesari (John), Mark Goldman (Verges), Greg Gutting (Pedro), Illan F. Halpern (Benedick), Winter Johnson (Conrade), Joan Legaspi (Balthasar), Flannery Mays (Hero), Liam Monaghan (Claudio), Erin K. Perry (Ursula), Virginia Poole (Margaret), Michele Sanner (Borachio), Francis Serpa (Frances), Samira Sheahan (Leonara), Jeff Trescott (Dogberry) and Skyler Wuolle (Beatrice).

Costumes by Lyre Alsyon, Set Design by Kirsten Yamaguchi, props by Susan Dunn, music by Pietro D'Amato, crew Abby Hirobe and Ana Nogueira.

The amphitheatre seats well over 300 people and consists of a series of stone steps. Low lawnchairs are acceptable, or bring pillows and/or blankets.  The amphitheatre is wheelchair accessible with 5 spot, s for wheelchairs or those who cannot climb steps and need a special chair, and 8 benches for wheelchair companions or folks who cannot climb ysteps but can sit on benches , all at ground level - please make a reservation so we can reserve these spots.  In addition, for those with limited mobility we will reserve places in the first few rows, which requires climbing a few steps (there are railings).  No chairs are provided, please bring your own and/or pillows/blankets.  For all others, we encourage you to make a reservation (and make a donation!) so we have some idea of who is coming (helps to plan concessions), but seats are on a first-come/first-served basis.   There a single handicap parking spot close to the amphitheatre and some additional spots along Somerset which are reasonably accessible for wheelchairs - we encourage folks to be dropped off.

John Hinkel Park Amphitheatre is at 41 Somerset Pl., Berkeley, CA 94707.  Access is via Arlington Avenue, turn right on Southampton, then continue straight onto Somerset.  Note that Google Maps will direct you to locations at the top of the park along San Diego Road - quite a hike down.  There is very limited parking at the amphitheatre, due to the addition of a playground which swallowed up most of the existing parking.  There is some parking along Arlington, Somerset, Southhampton, and San Diego Road - we encourage folks to ride bicycles or use ride services.  The closest BART station is the North Berkeley BART.  The #7 AC Transit bus stops right at the corner of Arlington and Southampton.

The production lasts about two hours, including a short intermission where hot dogs, veggie dogs, and corn-on-the-cob will be available.

Thank You

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley is delighted to acknowledge the Berkeley Civic Arts Program and Civic Arts Commission's support in the form of a grant of $8,000.00 awarded in 2017. Also, a thank you to Theatre Bay Area for a grant of $2,500.00.

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Actors Ensemble of Berkeley - P.O. Box 663 - Berkeley - California - 94701 ¦ Our Answering Service: (510) 649-5999 ¦

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Federal Tax ID #946139640, since 04-1967