The Belmont Hill and Winsor players produced yet another marvelous show, with a rendition of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Featuring some of the Hill’s most experienced actors — Peter Knowlton ‘17, Owen Pickette ‘18, Theo Why ‘18, Macdony Charles ‘18, and Henry Vettel ‘18 — the play also introduced sixth-form theater novices Ben London ‘17 and Marshall Knight ‘17. Winsor’s players included returning and novice performers as well.
Although it is a great comedy, Much Ado is one of Shakespeare’s most underrated plays. Its themes are love and gossip, with two intertwined romantic stories complicated by deception and unexpected turns. At the same time it realistically explores how outside forces (jealousy, ambition, politics) can influence and shape relationships, and features, of course, Shakespeare’s classic dramatic irony.
Much Ado About Nothing marks Ms. Robison’s second (and Mr. Debling’s first) Shakespeare production on the Hill, after MacBeth two years ago. Her mastery of the genre and the actors’ facility with Shakespeare’s language enabled her to realize her vision. Ms. Robison’s style and influence is a major contribution to the Belmont Hill theater legacy, implementing a modern twist with pop music and occasional 21st-century props and costumes.
A few seniors tried their hands at acting this fall as a kind of Belmont Hill bucket list. Marshall Knight and Ben London have been long time supporters of the theater, and they portrayed a very impressive knowledge and comfort with drama. The student head of theater, Peter Knowlton, performed one of his last plays on the Hill, taking the lead role of Benedick opposite Caroline Nolan’s Beatrice. The two exchanged barbed banter, fell for their friends’ and families’ conspiring to bring them together, and eventually fell for each other. The production featured great physical comedy (hedge-jumping while eavesdropping and Henry Vettel’s Dogberry were particular highlights) as well as the villainous scheming of Macdony Charles’ Don John.
Much Ado About Nothing marked the versatility that is Belmont Hill theater, performing Shakespearean comedies, tragedies, as well as many other genres of drama. The theater community and those who support it rallied around Much Ado, and put together a play that will be remembered for years to come.