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Much Ado at STC, Part 1

Dan Snook and Karen Ziemba in STC's 2002-2003 production of 'Much Ado About Nothing' directed by Mark Lamos. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Karen Ziemba: Our Beatrice wasn’t so much this Zelda Fitzgerald type of character. It wasn’t the Roaring Twenties so much as right after the war. It was more of a suggestion of the aristocracy at the time and what their pastimes were. We started off with a tennis match on the lawn. That set the tone more than anything. And then the soldiers entered, and immediately, there was a verbal battle.

Dan Snook: The repartee between the two of us was very fast paced. It was something that Mark stressed a lot – keep it moving, never let the audience catch up to you. As with a Noel Coward play, it zips past you and the next thing you know, two hours have gone by. That was something we talked about a lot: always keeping the balls up in the air.

DS: I came in with an aggressiveness to my audition. I wanted to seduce Karen in that room. That was my goal. Benedick relies on bravado, as opposed to knowing exactly the right move to make at all times in order to play this chess match between them.

KZ: Dan was a very youthful, exuberant Benedick. Kind of a tease. In many productions Benedick is a “been there, done that,” kind of guy. In this one he was more like the captain of the football team. Dan pushed my buttons in different ways than maybe someone who was more mature. It created sexual tension. The moment I remember is in the second act when I finally profess to Benedick how I really feel about him. It was very serious, and I felt an overwhelming feeling of peace and safety with him. I thought, he trusts me, he loves me, and now I can go and piss him off!

Mark Lamos: The title, Much Ado About Nothing can mean a number of things. It can mean women’s sexual organs, “nothing,” it can mean no thing, nothing at all. It can mean noting, being, perceiving, which is what all of Shakespeare’s plays are about. Hamlet, King Lear, they’re all about perception. And of course “much ado” makes it sound like they’re constantly having a party, which of course they are.

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