Much to do about Much Ado

Luke Venhuizen- Staff Writer

An audience walks into a theater with the expectation of being entertained for a couple hours. However, those couple of hours are not orchestrated overnight. They are instead a result of almost half-a-years’ worth of designing, creating,  and rehearsing.

Preparations for Dordt’s fall mainstage production Much Ado About Nothing, opening Oct. 13 at the TePaske Theater, started last April. The show was not announced until after design roles were distributed and sign-ups for auditions were posted towards the end of April.

Josiah Wallace, director of Dordt’s Much Ado, said, “I actually had people audition last spring to cast the major roles in the play, and that made it possible for those individuals to get a leg up on their lines because they have a lot.”

Wallace cast the main roles later in the summer and then held a second round of auditions for the rest of the cast during the first week of school.

Design meetings began this summer. At the end of May, around 15 students and faculty, hailing from three different countries and four different time zones, came together via Internet to start the collaborating process regarding the show. Scattered across the world, the design team successfully offered critiques and feedback with only a few minor technical setbacks.

Jennifer Allen, scenic designer and charge artist for Much Ado, said, “It didn’t really affect me that much because the website we used was fairly effective. The only thing that was inconvenient about it was not being in the space together because you can catch onto what people actually think faster.”

When school started in August, the group finally came together in one place and presented their work to each other. Rehearsals began the second week of school with a read-through, then blocking, character analysis, and more. One person can spend well over 200-300 hours on the show before opening night begins. The group now meets every Monday at 11am to update all contributing members on their progress.

Some, like Josiah Wallace, are finished with the show when Tech week starts, most are finished when the set is officially “striked” and others aren’t finished until mid-January.

Stephanie Korthuis, stage manager for Much Ado, said “I am planning on taking my work to the American College Theatre Festival to enter it for potential awards and to receive professional feedback.”

A final production is not pulled together in one night, but instead over many late nights, many early mornings and many long days. In order to fully appreciate the experience, audience members should be aware that every minute on stage is the culmination of hours of creative work off-stage.

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