Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents "Much Ado About Nothing" directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, July 20 - August 7, Boston Common

Much Ado About Nothing

July 20-August 7, 2022

Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

We are thrilled to announce that our summer 2022 production of Free Shakespeare on the Common will be Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian!

Much Ado is a wonderful play, joyful, funny and accessible to all audiences. But it also deals with larger issues involved in navigating relationships, which makes the play very relevant to contemporary audiences” said CSC’s Founding Artistic Director Steve Maler. “We are thrilled to welcome director Megan Sandberg-Zakian, an accomplished artist who will be bringing her unique style and vision to the play.”

“I’m delighted that Commonwealth Shakespeare will continue the beloved tradition of Shakespeare on the Common for a 26th season!” remarked Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. “We’re lucky to have an active, vibrant arts community in our City, and organizations like CSC that help break barriers and expand access to live theater. I look forward to attending this summer’s production, and I encourage all of Boston to support and enjoy our amazing theater scene.”

 

About our Director

“I am so thrilled to join CSC for my favorite Boston summer tradition of Shakespeare on the Common, and especially to be helming Much Ado About Nothing. One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, it gives us a community emerging from a time of war into an uneasy peace — where there is plenty of feasting and dancing, but where trust is fragile and trading insults feels safer than intimacy.” – Megan Sandberg-Zakian

Megan Sandberg-Zakian is an accomplished theater director, author, and facilitator. Based in Boston, she has directed plays all across the country, including at the New York Theatre Workshop, California Shakespeare Theatre, and Capital Repertory Theatre, plus at Boston-area theaters including the Huntington Theatre, Actors Shakespeare Project, and Merrimack Repertory Theater, among many others. Her productions have received both Eliot Norton and IRNE awards. Megan is co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.  Her book, There Must be Happy Endings: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty, is available from The 3rd Thing Press. 

Megan is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.  She has previously served as the Associate Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater, the Providence Black Repertory Company, and The 52nd Street Project in NYC, and as Director-in-Residence at Merrimack Repertory Theatre.  She is a recipient of the Princess Grace Theater Award and the TCG Future Leaders fellowship. 

Megan’s complete bio can be found HERE.

 

Synopsis

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most popular and frequently performed plays. The plot revolves around two couples — witty Beatrice and Benedick, who publicly proclaim their disdain for each other but fall madly in love; and naïve Hero and Claudio, who fall quickly in love only to be thwarted and then reunited (in both cases, with a bit of help from their friends). But it’s more than just a comedic romp. The play tackles serious themes too: trust and betrayal, power and privilege, gendered expectations around chastity and violence. This is a comedy entangled with a tragedy, where love and justice nevertheless manage to prevail with vigorous joy — a perfect play for our uncertain times.

 

Audience Information
  • Performances are FREE of charge. Curtain time 8:00 p.m. for most performances (specifics TBA).
  • Audience members can bring blankets or chairs, or can rent chairs on site for $10. Information about our Friends Seats will be announced at a later date.
  • Audience members are permitted to bring modest food items to consume at the show.
  • Depending on the COVID situation in the spring/summer, CSC may institute a pre-reservation system to restrict crowd size and promote social distancing. We continue to closely monitor the pandemic and will take appropriate steps on masking and social distancing if required.

 

Accessibility

CSC provides a range of accessibility services including assistive listening devices and  large print programs at every performance, and  ASL interpretation, open captioning, and audio description at selected performances. Specific accessible performance dates will be announced later this spring.

 

About CSC

Now entering its 26th season, CSC’s Shakespeare on the Common has become an annual Boston tradition, modeled along the lines of “Shakespeare in the Park” in Central Park and the many other free outdoor summer Shakespeare events throughout the country.

Beginning in the summer of 1996, CSC Founding Artistic Director, Steven Maler collaborated with the City of Boston, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Mayor’s Office for Cultural Affairs to present a free outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Copley Square.  This event was described by Ed Siegel of the Boston Globe as “fully engaging, with one of the most diverse audiences ever seen in Boston.” The production was chosen as one of the top ten theatrical events of 1996 by the Boston Globe, and Mr. Maler received the Eliot Norton Award for his outstanding direction.  Carolyn Clay of the Boston Phoenix wrote, “how proud it is for Boston to finally offer free Shakespeare.”

Following the success of its first production, CSC presented Romeo & Juliet at the newly renovated Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common in August of 1997. Performing annually at the Parkman Bandstand — centrally located, handicapped-accessible and accessible to all by public transportation — CSC has become one of Boston’s most attended annual arts events.  Each summer CSC welcomes approximately upwards of 50,000 people to our shows on the Boston Common, and over the past 25 years CSC has performed for over 1 million audience members.

Free Shakespeare on the Common is possible thanks to the support of friends like you. There are a number of ways to support CSC. Donations will be collected on the Common or you can also CLICK HERE.

Creative Team

William Shakespeare
Playwright

William Shakespeare was a renowned English poet, playwright, and actor born in 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon. His birthday is most commonly celebrated on 23 April, which is also believed to be the date on which he died in 1616. Shakespeare was a prolific writer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages of British theatre (sometimes referred to as the English Renaissance or the Early Modern Period). Shakespeare’s plays are perhaps his most enduring legacy, but they are not the only things he wrote. Shakespeare’s poetry has also remained popular to this day.

Shakespeare’s work includes 38 plays, 2 narrative poems, a collection of 154 sonnets, and other poems as well. No original manuscripts of Shakespeare’s plays are known to exist today, and about half of Shakespeare’s plays are only available to us because a group of actors in his company collected them for publication after his death. These writings were brought together in what is known as the First Folio (‘Folio’ refers to the size of the paper used). It contained 36 of his plays, and none of his poetry. Shakespeare’s legacy is as rich and diverse as his work; his plays have spawned countless adaptations across multiple genres and cultures, and his plays have had an enduring presence on stage and film.

His writings have been compiled in various iterations of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by different entities, which usually include all of his plays, his sonnets, and his other poems. From Stratford to London and beyond, William Shakespeare was and is one of the most important literary figures of the English language.

 

Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Director

Megan Sandberg-Zakian is an accomplished theater director, author, and facilitator. Based in Boston, she has directed plays all across the country, including at the New York Theatre Workshop, California Shakespeare Theatre, and Capital Repertory Theatre, plus at Boston-area theaters including the Huntington Theatre, Actors Shakespeare Project, and Merrimack Repertory Theater, among many others. Her productions have received both Eliot Norton and IRNE awards. Megan is co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.  Her book, There Must be Happy Endings: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty, is available from The 3rd Thing Press. 

Megan is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.  She has previously served as the Associate Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater, the Providence Black Repertory Company, and The 52nd Street Project in NYC, and as Director-in-Residence at Merrimack Repertory Theatre.  She is a recipient of the Princess Grace Theater Award and the TCG Future Leaders fellowship. 

Megan’s complete bio can be found  HERE.

CSC’s production of Free Shakespeare on the Common performs on land now known as The Boston Common which is on the traditional lands of the Pawtucket and Massachusett tribes, as well as the historic lands of the Wampanoag nation.

The Boston Common, in particular, has a bloody history towards Indigenous peoples that is seldom discussed. We wish to express our sorrow for this history and extend our deepest gratitude for the use of this space. We ask you to learn more about this, the process and importance of land acknowledgement, and ways to support Indigenous communities who are still here by exploring the materials we have gathered below.

 

 

Performances take place at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common, across from the AMC Loews Boston Common movie theater on Tremont Street.

 

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