Time, gender changes are complementary in Parkland's 'Much Ado'

Time, gender changes are complementary in Parkland's 'Much Ado'

CHAMPAIGN — At Parkland College's "Much Ado About Nothing," Shakespeare has been updated to World War II and there's been a gender reversal.

Director B.J. Gailey said the changes are organic.

"It lines up with major themes; it's in part about coming back from war and in part about changing roles for women," he said.

In this case of the sparring lovers Benedick and Beatrice, Benedick is now a woman, in fact a member of the Women's Army Corps, and Beatrice is based on the era's symbolic Rosie The Riveter.

Costumes? "We have some authentic pieces, so we're very lucky," he said.

Abby Gailey, who plays Benedick, calls the role change "a wonderful, amazing option and amazing challenge."

"They are two very strong personalities who find intellectual stimulation in each other, and find they fall in love."

Chelsea Collier Zych plays Beatrice.

"It's really enjoyable because Abby and I have been good friends for four years, since we did 'Pride and Prejudice' together at Parkland," she said. "It's enjoyable to tease each other."

Collier Zych did graduate work in Shakespearean studies.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is one of her favorites.

"I've never seen that character represented as female. Honestly, the personality comes through, and it actually very much makes sense in the 1940s," she said.

She said the tone is light, but sometimes "a roller coaster."

If you go

What: "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare.

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9-11 and 16-18; 3 p.m. Nov. 12, 19.

Where: Harold and Jean Miner Theatre, Parkland College.

Tickets: $9 to $15.

More information: 217-351-2528; theatre.parkland.edu/much_ado.

Topics (2):Education, Theater