The 2012 rendition of Much Ado perplexed me. I can not figure out what the goal or message was. Why keep the lines and plot essentially the same as the original? Why put it in modern times, but at the same time make it black and white? Possibly they were trying to make the point that we still deal with these issues of gender and class inequality in today’s society – and making it black and white emphasizes the idea that we are still stuck in the past. I am not sure, but I think in our adaptation as we work to decolonize Much Ado we need to be more deliberate.
I also think this adaptation, while changing some aspects, did not give much room for the women to break any barriers. While Beatrice obviously used her agency to speak up, she was still restrained by her social and political environment. There was too much dependence on the men, especially when it came to Hero. I am still waiting for an adaptation where Hero completely bosses up. I do not think Hero should get married in our adaptation. Her whole existence revolves around her reputation according to the men — maybe we can build that tension up in the beginning of the play and by the end, Hero completely breaks that wall down.
All in all, I think it is still helpful to watch all of these adaptations even for the sake of figuring out what we don’t want to do.