The Essex Theatre Company (ETC) in Essex, New York, is gearing up for another summer season of theatre.
This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Emily Madan, director of the first show this season,"Much Ado About Nothing."
Emily has been acting since 2001 and started directing when she was in college at SUNY Plattsburgh. This is her fifth production as director. She was recently seen on the stage at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in the Community Theatre Players production of "Evita."
Emily's main goal with this production is to convince people who think they don't like Shakespeare that they can enjoy the bard. She says most people who don't like Shakespeare say it's because they don't know what's going on. Emily feels that seeing Shakepeare performed shouldn't be challenging to the audience but should be challenging for the actors.
Her concept is to modernize "Much Ado About Nothing" but not just for the sake of modernizing. She will be modernizing with a purpose. She is basing her concept on reality TV, specifically "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." The main change to the original script is that the boys wil lnot be returning from a war but from a band tour in Europe.
As a result, the production will have music and vocal numbers. It will be accessible both for people who watch reality TV and those who don't.Those who do watch will get a little more of the inside jokes and subtle references. Emily explains that this production is a reality TV show within a play. The audience will be seeing the whole production crew as well as watching the whole process develop.
Emily loves re-working Shakespeare, and smilingly says about the adaptation, "We're not slaves to Shakespeare, we're just using his poetry. Thank the Lord he's not going to be at rehearsal to watch me tear apart his script." She is very animated on this subject and explains how the fact that there are no limitations stimulates creativity.
The cast is young – ages 9 to 26 – and will be doing a lot of doubling of parts.
Essex Theatre Company performs in the Masonic Lodge on the shore of Lake Champlain. It is a lovely spot to see a show just next to the ferry to Vermont dock.
"Much Ado About Nothing" opens on July12 and run sthrough mid-July. Click through to the ETC web site for details on perfomances.
The second show of the ETC season is "Becky Shaw," A comedy of bad manners, love, sex, & ethics by Gina Gionfriddo, directed by Antonette Knoedl.
Check out The Lake Champlain Region to find out more activities this summer in Essex and other towns in around the lake.
Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondacks for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, swimming, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.