Much Ado 2012

One of the things that we as a class have discussed a lot is the desire for a production or adaptation of Much Ado to be fluid with the context it is in. The Shakespeare in the park production felt natural, because each of the actors inhabited the character and their delivery of the lines felt natural. When you were watching them, it barely felt like they were saying Shakespeare, it felt more like poetry. The same was true of Emma and Clueless, even though they did not keep the language of the text, the words used felt like they fit the context. In fact, many people disliked Emma, because they felt that she was not an accurate representation of Beatrice’s wit. Clueless portrays Emma/Beatrice as a bit of a brat, but her language and actions somehow evokes empathy from the audience. In the 2012 version, there was no connection to the characters. They took away much of the comedy from the show, and so often the production felt forced. Overall, I think there were interesting adaptations that they made, but everything felt a bit off, from the black and white, to the costuming, the plot felt out of place with the context.

Even aside from the discordance of the language and setting, I had complaints about some of the plot points. Shakespeare fails to reveal to the audience why Don John is so antagonistic, and this production never addresses it, and in fact makes it more confusing. Don John and Conrad arrive in handcuffs, but that is never explained. Similarly, there are some artistic decisions that make zero sense. Why was Claudio in a pool after the party, and where did Don John and his lackeys come from. It was a wholly strange experience, even if parts of it were interesting. 

3 comments

  1. I really like the point that you bring up about the lack of a connection to the audience. I think that if you are going to adapt Shakespeare it is crucial that you do this because without those connections it just seems as though the lines of the original play were plopped in a modern setting with little to no explanation of why. For example, to me, it didn’t make sense to me why people were still referred to as count and lord when it seemed to take place in modern America.

  2. I like your point that the adaptation should be fluid with the context it is in. For a 2012 version that is actually set in 2012, I think it would make so much more sense for the script to be adapted to fit the setting. It doesn’t make sense in terms of the story itself for the entire setting to change but for the language to stay the same. I think this is the main reason why the film didn’t work for me.

  3. I agree that much of the movie and the delivery of the lines from the actors felt very forced. It felt as if they thought they were being artistic or meaningful in the way they were portraying it, but it often felt exactly the same as the play only in a not very interesting modern day context. I’m also curious as to why the decision was made to make the movie in black and white.

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