Theatre company adds modern spin to Shakespeare

The Aquila Theatre will perform “Much Ado About Nothing” at Norton Auditorium Feb. 7.  “The first performance I saw (of them) opened my eyes,” said Gigi Broadway, senior administrative assistant of university events.

by Associate Life Editor Hannah Zimmer

The Aquila Theatre will perform Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at Norton Auditorium Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.

The Shakespearian production is returning to UNA as it has in previous years, said Gigi Broadway, senior administrative assistant of university events.

Broadway said “Much Ado About Nothing” is a romantic comedy surrounding two couples.

“Without giving too much away, the characters will be switching roles,” she said. “It has a love story and lots of comedy.”

Although the Aquila Theatre is performing a play from the 16th century, the company puts a modern spin on the story.

“Aquila Theatre is very precise with their Shakespearian language, but their sets are a lot more modern than those of the Globe Theatre,” said Brett Jennings, director of university events.

The Aquila Theatre will journey from New York to Florence to perform the play.

“Aquila Theatre has been coming to UNA for several years,” Broadway said. “It’s part of the Albert S. Johnston Endowment.”

Albert S. Johnston was a former English professor at UNA who taught Shakespeare. After he died, the school created the Albert S. Johnston Endowment which requires UNA to have one Shakespeare activity each year.

Jennings said the Aquila Theatre is one of the best companies to grace UNA with its performances.

“Over the years, we have looked at many opportunities, and we have found that Aquila Theatre out of New York to be the best quality,” he said. “Their shows are phenomenal, and we’ve stuck with them.”

Freshman Kara Holden said she is excited to see the play.

“I would definitely love to go see a play that involved a cast from New York City,” she said. “It sounds like it would be very high quality.”

University employees worked on the arrival of “Much Ado About Nothing” to UNA for a year.

“Aquila Theatre stays on top of things, and Jennings gets the contracts drafted early,” Broadway said.

Broadway said she hopes people will open their minds to a new experience.

“The first performance I saw (of them) opened my eyes,” she said. “In the past, I really didn’t enjoy Shakespeare because I didn’t give it a chance.”

Jennings said the performances are entertaining, and the group shows Shakespeare can be fun.

In addition to the performance, UNA students who are taking Shakespeare and theatre classes will have the opportunity to interact with actors from the Aquila Theatre.

“Two or three of their actors will come into the performance center for a master class and teach our students a few things,” Jennings said.

Junior Julie Heflin said it will be a great opportunity.

“It’s one thing to just watch a play, but to also talk with the actors and hear about how they made their decisions is another,” she said.

People can buy tickets at the door, the Kennedy-Douglas Center, Coldwater Books or the UNA Bookstore.

The cost is $5 for faculty or students and $10 for general admission.