Denver-based Jane Page directed Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at the Babcock Theatre (located below Pioneer Theatre at the U of U, 300 S. 1400 East, KingTix.com), with performances Nov. 13-16 at 7:30 p.m. (Saturday, Nov. 15, matinee at 2 p.m.).n
As director of last summer’s Taming of the Shrew at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, you set the play in post-World War II Italy. Your current production, Much Ado About Nothing, takes place in America’s Wild West. Why the time travel?
nIt’s what interests me. I’ve certainly seen terrific productions done in period. But it’s not the sort of thing that lands in my lap easily. One of the beautiful things about Shakespeare is that the stories and relationships transfer among cultures and time periods. Very few are really bound to a particular era. In Shakespeare’s day, they wore contemporary clothes, so it’s closer to what Shakespeare audiences experienced, anyway.
So Mr. S. would approve?
nI think so. He’d probably be writing for television or film at this point. He wrote for the common entertainment of his day.
Eavesdropping and gossip play a central role in Much Ado About Nothing. Do you think we gossip as much today as in the Bard’s time?
nI think it’s different now. We’re always connected. We’re so expected to be available 24/7. There’s healthy gossiping and destructive gossiping. The notion of looking after each other and people letting each other know when someone is not well or if there’s something going on—if it’s done in the spirit of care and concern so that people know to be attentive to one another, it’s healthy. Gossiping has gotten a bad name. But eavesdropping has gotten worse. People are going to coffee shops and are looking at each other’s computer screens. That’s a little creepy.