UVU 'Much Ado' set in the 1940s

This post was written by a student in Utah Valley University's dramaturgy program. A dramaturg is the member of the creative and technical team for a production who researches the history, context and details of a performance, ensuring accuracy and clarity for all.

Hello!  I’m Laura Dexter, the dramaturg for UVU’s upcoming production of Much Ado About Nothing.  In this rendition, director John Newman has set Shakespeare’s classic comedy right at the end of World War II.  In preparation for the show, I wanted to give a little bit of background on the time period and the play.

Welcome to 1945, a time in history where feminism had just experienced more progress than it ever had before.  The Allies quickly realized that the only way to victory was to incorporate the efforts of as many citizens as possible.  While men were being drafted to serve as soldiers, women were encouraged to take up jobs that had been previously deemed “man’s work”.  They were working in factories building and fixing planes, working as conductors, and driving trucks and fire engines.  And for the first time in history, women were officially recognized as part of the military.

But now the soldiers are coming home!  The dark time of the war has finally passed.  Women have been holding down the Homefront and the boys are returning to rejoin everyday life.  And while some young men are looking forward to the romances in store, there are others who swear to never fall prey to the distractions of love.

Beatrice, one of the play’s main characters, is being portrayed as the embodiment of Rosie the Riveter.  In a world where catching a husband is priority, she stands as a beacon of female independence.  Major Benedick exclaims, “Is’t come to this? […] Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again?”  Their friends determine to test their stubbornness and start a game of matchmaking and mischief that turns everyone’s world upside down.  Benedick and Beatrice, who “never meet but there’s a skirmish of wit between them”, stand head to head and go toe to toe.  The romantic tension is palpable and the clever banter sends sparks flying.  Get your tickets now to see our story unfold!