During this week’s meeting with our community partners, we finally got started on the technical side of our adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. Instead of reading through our abridged script with the students who volunteered to be our voice actors, we decided to focus our attention on identifying specific “stock images” that we believed would be necessary in illustrating our plot. For example, we UR students thought that it would be crucial to include a drawing of all of the main characters for when they are individually introduced by Bea. We also agreed to include illustrations of the inside and outside of the school (Messina High), and an illustration of its rival private school (Aragon Prep), where John finds himself at the end of our act.
When determining which students would draw these important “stock images,” there seemed to be a genuine sense of collaboration and encouragement among the kids, which was great to see. The kids also went into great detail when asked to describe the physical appearances of the characters, proving helpful when it came time to transfer those ideas to the page. We then got into a lengthy discussion of whether or not our students should wear uniforms, which ended with us agreeing that the characters should ultimately get to choose how or if they follow the school’s enforcement of uniforms. In a sense, we let the characters decide for themselves based on how their personalities have been constructed by the students. On a different note, I found the hardest part of this meeting to be dividing the work of creating the images equally amongst all of our students; however, some students were very eager and willing to draw multiple characters and settings.
At this stage in the project, I do find myself wondering if our adaptation will be too “bound” to its source play (which I found to be a fault of the high school-set O), or if it will be able to stand on its own as a compelling and coherent project. I ultimately think that, since our students haven’t necessarily even read the comedy itself, our adaptation of Much Ado has no option but to take on a new, independent form. I look forward to next week, when we hopefully will switch to Zoom and begin recording our script.