Much Ado About
Misunderstandings, comedy, music, betrayal, love and deception...this comedic play is perfect for a summer's night or afternoon!
Following the conclusion of a war, Governor Leonato receives several visitors to his house in Messina. One is Don Pedro, the Prince of Arragon. Another is Count Claudio, who has been romantically pursuing Leonato’s only daughter, Hero, before the war. Yet another is Benedick, a bachelor, who enjoys speaking his mind and engaging in witty argument with Hero’s cousin and companion – the Lady Beatrice.
Leonato holds a masked ball to celebrate the end of the war, and the engagement of Claudio to Hero is arranged. Meanwhile, the Duke’s brother, Don John, is resentful of the celebrations and seeks a way to spoil the general happiness. Don John plots with the soldiers Borachio and Conrade to deceive Claudio into believing that Hero is false to him. They organize a trick with the unwitting assistance of Hero’s maid, Margaret. Late at night, Margaret speaks to Borachio from Hero’s bedroom window. Claudio and the Duke secretly watch from a distance, under the delusion that the girl at the window is Hero.
Meanwhile, Hero and Don Pedro are convinced that Benedick and Beatrice are ideal partners. By means of overheard conversations, the two realize they do indeed love one another.
At the wedding of Claudio and Hero, Claudio denounces Hero and leaves her apparently dead from shock. Her father, Beatrice, and Benedick, with the aid of a priest, decide to keep Hero’s recovery concealed until her name is cleared. Help is at hand as the village constable, Dogberry, and his assistants have arrested Borachio and Conrade after overhearing them boasting of their deception of Claudio and the Duke.
After some difficulties, Dogberry’s information is eventually given to Leonato and Don Pedro, and the play comes to a joyful conclusion. Claudio agrees to accept Leonato’s “niece” (whom he has never met) in place of Hero, whom he still believes has been killed by his slander. The “niece” turns out to be Hero; as the lovers are reunited, Benedick and Beatrice announce that they will share the wedding day. Don John has been captured while trying to escape, and is left for future trial. The play ends in a merry dance.
Murder, madness and mayhem...the classic dark and tragic tale of Macbeth.
King Duncan’s generals, Macbeth and Banquo, encounter three strange women on a bleak Scottish moorland on their way home from quelling a rebellion. The women prophesy that Macbeth will be given the title of Thane of Cawdor and then become King of Scotland, while Banquo’s heirs shall be kings. The generals want to hear more, but the weird sisters disappear. King Duncan names Macbeth Thane of Cawdor in thanks for his success in the recent battles, and then proposes to make a brief visit to Macbeth’s castle at Dunsinane.
Lady Macbeth receives news from her husband of the prophecy, as well as of his new title, and vows to help him become king by any means she can. Macbeth’s return is followed almost at once by Duncan’s arrival. The Macbeths plot to murder the king. Later that night, after all are sleeping and Lady Macbeth has given the guards drugged wine, Macbeth kills the king and his guards. Lady Macbeth leaves the bloody daggers beside the dead king. Fearing for their lives, Duncan’s sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee. When Macduff arrives and discovers the body, the sons are blamed for the murder.
Macbeth is elected King of Scotland but is plagued by feelings of guilt and insecurity. He arranges for Banquo and his son Fleance to be killed, but the boy escapes the murderers. At a celebratory banquet, Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo, and disconcerts the courtiers with his strange manner. Lady Macbeth tries to calm him, but is rejected.
Macbeth seeks out the three witches and learns from them that he will be safe until the nearby Birnam Wood comes to his castle. They tell him that he need fear no-one born of woman, but also that the Scottish succession will come from Banquo’s son. Macbeth embarks on a reign of terror and many, including Macduff’s family, are murdered. Macduff himself has gone to join Malcolm at the court of the English king, Edward. Malcolm and Macduff decide to lead an army against Macbeth.
Macbeth feels safe in his remote castle at Dunsinane until he is told that Birnam Wood is moving towards him. It turns out that Malcolm’s army is carrying branches from the forest as camouflage for their assault on the castle. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth, paralyzed with guilt, walks in her sleep and gives away her secrets to a listening doctor. She kills herself as the final battle commences.
Macduff challenges Macbeth to a duel. Upon learning his adversary is the child of a Caesarian birth, Macbeth realizes he is doomed. Macduff triumphs and brings the head of the traitor to Malcolm. Malcolm declares peace and is crowned ruler.