‘Much Ado About Nothing’ takes the stage beginning Feb. 26

Carina Iannarelli acting in Much Ado About Nothing

Carina Iannarelli, a communication major from Bridgeville, and Cole Vecchio, a theatre major from Bradford, will portray Beatrice and Benedick in SRU’s productions of “Much Ado About Nothing.” (Photo by Kaitlin Cliber, a theatre major from Plum)

Feb. 11, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University theatre will stage a number of variant performances of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," beginning at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 26 in the University Union.

Laura Smiley, SRU associate professor of theatre, adapted the play from the original work, and will direct. Smiley's version will be set in Spain and inspired by the art nouveau movement.

Art nouveau is a style of decorative art, architecture, and design prominent in Western Europe and the U.S. from roughly 1890 until World War I. It is characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms.

The play's story centers on Leonato, a kindly and respectable nobleman, who shares his home with his young daughter, Hero; his playful and clever niece, Beatrice; and his elderly brother, Antonio, who is Beatrice's father.

As the play begins, Leonato prepares to welcome friends home from a war. Those friends include Don Pedro, a prince, and two fellow soldiers in the form of Claudio, a well-respected young nobleman, and Benedick, a clever man who constantly makes witty jokes, often at the expense of his friends.

Shakespeare is believed to have penned the original version of the play in either 1598 or 1599 as he approached the midpoint of his career. The play was included in the "First Folio," published in 1623. "Much Ado About Nothing" is generally considered one of Shakespeare's best comedies because it combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honor, shame and court politics.

According to Kaitlin Cliber, an SRU theatre major from Plum who serves as the production's scene designer, Smiley's adaptation will transport patrons to a "warm matriarchal household awaiting the return of its prized soldiers from war, with the exception of Beatrice, who could care less. A masquerade ball, an envious villain, a rumor, and a vigilante constable will make that world topsy-turvy."

The cast includes Carina Iannarelli, a communication major from Bridgeville as Beatrice; Cole Vecchio, a theater major from Bradford as Benedick; Emily Daning, a theatre major from Bartonsville as Hero; E.J. Christopher, a theater major from Uniontown as Claudio; Garrett Besonson, an English major from Wexford as Borachio; Philip Bova, a English major from Pittsburgh as Conrad; A.J. Sansonetti, a mathematics major from Allison Park as Verges; Tajionna Anderson Clinton, a communication major from Pittsburgh as Margaret; Kristina Streno, a theater major from Eight Four as Ursula; Ashley Tresky, a resort recreation and hospitality management major from Hanover as Watchman; Alex Sharo, a psychology major from Hermitage as Don Pedro; Darrin Mosely, a dance major from York as Friar Francis; Deanna Brookens, SRU instructor of theatre as Leonata; and Bill Zeiger, retired SRU professor of English as Dogberry.

Additional performances will take place at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Feb. 28, and at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 29-March 3. There is no performance Feb. 27.

Tickets, available at the Smith Student Center Information Desk, are $7 for students and $12 for general admission.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu