Celebrated theater group TNT Theatre Britain will return to Costa Rica to present Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” for two nights, Sept. 24 and 25, at the National Theater in San José. Produced by the Terruño Espressivo Cultural Association, the two shows will be performed in English with Spanish subtitles projected on a screen above the stage.
The play explores the universal themes of love, betrayal and jealousy. Lovers Claudio and Hero are to marry, but Don John’s deception leads Claudio to question Hero’s honor and ultimately reject her at the altar. Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice’s constant verbal sparring masks their deeper feelings for each other. By balancing comedy and tragedy, “Much Ado About Nothing” appeals to audiences of all ages.
“Firstly, it is a great comedy so it should be funny. Secondly, it is a great love story so it should be romantic. Thirdly, it is a profound exploration of the human condition so it should make sense,” said Paul Stebbings, director of the play and artistic director for TNT Theatre Britain.
Born in Nottingham, England, Stebbings studied drama at the University of Bristol and was trained in the Grotowski method of acting in both Britain and Poland. Stebbings founded TNT Theatre Britain in 1980, and his productions have toured all over the world.
“Although I have made or toured theater in some 40 countries on five continents, I have enjoyed nowhere more than Costa Rica,” Stebbings said. “Pura vida, plus art. What more could I want?”
TNT has been bringing Shakespearean plays, including last year’s “Othello,” to Costa Rica for five years. Although Stebbings’ interpretation of “Much Ado About Nothing” is modern, he chose to stay literal to the Bard’s original play.
“Like Shakespeare, we want to celebrate the human spirit and create a live event that moves its audience in this bland digital age,” Stebbings said.
The impressive cast features Natalia Campbell as Beatrice, Richard Ede as Benedick, Gareth Fordred as Claudio, Rebecca Naylor as Hero, David Chittenden as Don Pedro and Richard Clodfelter as Leonato.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, and at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25. Tickets may be purchased at the National Theater box office. Prices range from ₡6,000 to ₡24,000 ($12 to $48). For more information, call the National Theater at 2221-5341 or visit www.teatronacional.go.cr.