Much Ado – 2012

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.

4 comments

  1. I totally agree, I think we need to be more deliberate with our work of decolonizing Much Ado, especially if we plan to set our adaptation in a modern-day high school setting. The modern setting of this movie felt so strange to me because it is one of the very few changes they made to the play. It also made me upset to see Hero and Claudio end up together in the end (even more upset than when I first read the play itself). Maybe this movie intends for the audience to criticize the problematic elements of Shakespeare’s play when it is thrown into a modern context, but if that is the case, then why change any of the minor plot points at all?

  2. I definitely agree that the messages this adaptation was trying to convey were not very clear. I thought there would be more drastic changes to the themes of the play concerning gender and social inequities, but instead it was the same play for the most part. I agree that even if this play was attempting to show how things have not changed since Shakespeare’s time, our play should address these issues more head on.

  3. I agree! I totally felt like this adaptation was what I wanted to avoid. We should actually change the story, because that has much more value in trying to change the messages and themes of the play. I agree that the production decisions did not make sense in the modern context, either.

  4. Yes, I totally understand where your coming from. I shared on someone else’s post as well that I found it interesting how changing the time period itself provided much of the adaptation work. Moments that were funny, or tragic, or sexist, or dramatic were all greatly exaggerated because it was in format we understood and that was what made it powerful for me.

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