SANDWICH — It's hard to say if the audience will be more thrilled with Advice To The Players sparkling presentation of Much Ado About Nothing or by the elegant seats they get to watch it from.
With brand new stadium seats, theatre–goers are guaranteed a comfy, back-supported afternoon at The Fairgrounds Stage. "We knew we had to make our patrons more comfortable," says Executive Director Rebecca Boyden. "We were thinking of putting cushions on the bleacher planks, but when one of our supporters offered us a donation for seats with backs, we went with the stadium seats".
Also new this summer, the company is offering free admission to children ages 12 and under. This youth ticket program is made possible by a grant from the Alfred Quimby Trust.
August Shakespeare at the Fairgrounds Stage has been a tradition since 2002, when ATTP presented a lyrical production of As You Like It. This summer's presentation promises to be full of love and laughter when Don Pedro and his men come to visit the Italian summer estate of the kind Leonato and his eligible daughter, Hero. Mischief is lurking, however, in the person of the jealous brother, Don John, who preys on the youthful fears and vulnerability of young Claudio. At the center of it all, is the playful and profound love affair of Beatrice and Benedick, who are "too wise to woo peaceably". With earnest clowns, intrigue and two pairs of lovers, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's snappiest and smartest comedies.
Candace Clift and John Schnatterly play Beatrice and Benedick, the 'lovers of a certain age', joined by the young lovers Hero (Emma Bickford) and Claudio (Andrew Codispoti). David Hans makes his ATTP debut as Don Pedro and Lee Stockman plays his brother Don John. Richard Moses returns as Leonato, with area teacher and poet Gordon Lang playing his brother Antonio.
The waiting women Ursula (Martha Nichols) and Margaret (Brianne Robitaille) advance the plot intrigues, and veteran Lisa Thompson plays the comic constable, Dogberry. Making the trek from Rochester to join ATTP are Leslie Hamblin and Tim Robinson, playing Friar Frances and Verges. And rounding it all out is a group of watchmen, played by Sandy Trask, Frederick Bickford, Tyler Kenney, Anna Brown, Lauren Hansen and Natasha Crane, accompanied by So Low the dog in his third appearance with Advice To The players.
The production is directed by Mark Woollett, stage managed by Lauren Hansen and costumed by De Robitaille and Carolyn Boldt.
David Hans as Don Pedro (l) and Andrew Codispoti as Claudio (r) jest with John Schnatterly's Benedick (c) in Advice To The Players' Much Ado About Nothing at the Sandwich Fairgrounds Stage. (Courtesy photo by Duane Dale)