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“Much Ado About Nothing” Opens at Las Positas College with Dublin High Support

November 13, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy, opened at Las Positas College Friday evening showcasing Dublin High School (and Wells Middle School) Drama Director Bryant Hoex in the lead role of Benedick and Dublin High graduate Mac Meyer as Boracchio.  The Las Positas production featured an ensemble cast of students, local community members and seasoned actors.  The performance was held in the recently opened Las Positas College Center for the Arts (funded by Livermore Measure B).  Much Ado About Nothing is the first production of many to be staged in the intimate 150-seat BlackBox Theater.  The Center for the Arts also includes a 500-seat theater and 1,500-seat outdoor amphitheater.

Director Ken Ross chose to set the play in America circa 1890 – and the setting proved a refreshing take on the well-known play (originally set in Renaissance Italy).  From the music, to costumes, props and the stage, the scene was convincingly set.  The play depends on strong performances from Leonato, Don Pedro, Claudio, Hero, and in particular Benedick and Beatrice – and the cast didn’t disappoint.  Particularly strong was Kara Penrose in the role of Beatrice – she owned the stage and stole the show, creating a convincing (and combative) romance with Benedick (played with terrific comic timing by Dublin High School Drama Director Bryant Hoex).

Bryant Hoex as Benedick

Hoex made clever use of the theater layout – surrounded on three sides by the audience – by crawling through the seats during the always entertaining eavesdropping scene.  Timothy Ackerman, in the role of Leonato, perfectly captured a father’s anguish when learning of Hero’s accusal (and anger when the accusal was proved false).  Dublin High graduate Mac Meyer, in the role of Boracchio, provided solid support (Mr. Meyer previously appeared in Dublin High productions including Lend me a Tenor and Once Upon a Mattress).  Of note also was Terra Taz Balbuena in the role of Verges – one of the officers (appropriately styled as “Keystone Kops”) that unravel Don Pedro’s plot to disgrace Hero.  Ms. Balbuena was hilarious – making the most of few words through effective pantomime.  Costume Designer Wesley Morgan’s attention to detail proved important with the audience surrounding, and just inches from, the stage.

Much Ado About Nothing continues for an extended run at the Las Positas College Center for the Arts: November 13-14, 19-21 and 26-28.  Tickets are available here.

Bryant Hoex also recently directed Much Ado About Nothing – the Dublin High School production – last year (reviewed here…) and was recently profiled in Dublin Patch.

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