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Read Much Ado About Nothing
Some couples are born sparring, Some achieve sparkling, And some have sparking thrust upon 'em. With Beatrice and Benedick, it is all three. Long before Ross met Rachel or Harry met Sally, the brilliance of Beatrice and Benedick bantered and bickered its way into our hearts. Much Ado About Nothing is nominally about Claudio and Hero, but that's a courtship as tepid as afternoon tea. Sure, there's a bit of nasty denouncing, swooning and repenting, but it all ends up OK, which is nice. And dastardly Don John never poses a real threat. In fact, he leaves halfway through the play, probably to pick up his award for "Villain Most Likely to be Played by Keanu Reeves or a Large Cardboard Cutout". Nope, it's all about the merry warriors. They can't stop needling each other, one-upping each other, … thinking about each other. Beatrice's first lines (after you peel back several layers of insult) ask whether Benedict has returned safely from the war. And Benedick's confirmed bachelorhood takes a direct hit when he is gulled into thinking that Beatrice loves him. But how do you tell someone you care for them without making yourself vulnerable? Well, if you can’t say it outright, maybe you can deny the opposite? That approach creates some bizarre exchanges: Benedick: I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange? Beatrice: As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. Do nine negatives make a positive? It's all a bit twisty to fit into a Hallmark card, but it’s at least a start in the not-wrong direction. But worry not - like all screwball comedy couples, these killer B's are assured of a happy ending. After all, her name means "one who blesses"; his name means "one who is blessed". How's that for foreshadowing? For a handy plot synopsis, check out Weird fun fact: Claudio and Hero don't speak directly to each other until the wedding scene in Act 4! LOGISTICS Please note: The Shoreline Library meeting room is only available from 12:00 noon to 4:30 PM on Sunday, so we will begin at 12 noon with 1) setting up, 2) distributing parts, 3) quick introductions, then 4) reading a brilliant play! The reading plan: We’ll read Acts 1 thru 3, take a short break, then return for Acts 4 & 5. After another short break for those who need to skedaddle, we’ll open the floor for (always lively) discussions. 1. Please try to become familiar with the play ahead of time, whether that means reading the play, watching a production on stage or on film, or reading a summary. 2. Try to bring a copy of the play as well, whether a paper book or an electronic version. If you can't find a copy, contact the host and we'll see if we can find an extra. 3. Don't forget to update your RSVP if you find that you won't be able to make it. We look forward to reading with you!

Shoreline Library

345 NE 175th St · Seattle, WA


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What we're about

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
--As You Like It, Act II

We are Shakespeare lovers of varied backgrounds: actors and non-actors; teachers and baristas, retirees and programmers; people who read Shakespeare all the time and people who haven’t read him in many years. Some of us can do spot-on accents, some can sing, and some are very gifted performers; many of us just gamely read our lines as best we can, and with the best will in the world.

No acting experience is required; just a willingness to read aloud and appreciate Shakespeare’s language. Try it out—we're a friendly group! The beauty of the language, the insights into our human nature, the humor, compassion, anguish and scope of Shakespeare's work make it a treasure that we return to again and again, finding something new each time.

How to Get Started: RSVP to a particular meetup (and please keep your RSVP up to date; let us know if you can’t attend). Bring a copy of the play, if at all possible. To prepare, reading the play or watching a performance are ideal. Or you can read an introduction or a synopsis. Some of our readers practice at home, to get a feel for the language. Regardless of preparation, there will be some confusing lines, and we often have different editions; in that case, just wing it.

What to Expect from a Readthrough: We read the entire play; it takes most of the afternoon. We start by allocating roles. You can volunteer for a particular role that you want. There are usually twelve to twenty or more readers. The roles with the most lines are usually shared. We usually don't follow gender in determining who reads which role. However, at an event host’s discretion, there may be some occasions when gender is matched for a character. Weather permitting during July and August, we meet outside in Volunteer Park.

How This Meetup Group Is Run: The Seattle Shakespeare (Etc!) Readthrough meetup group has five organizers (Aidan, Paul, Kristin, Scott, and Harry). They take turns as “Event Hosts” for the read-throughs. The organizers select plays and library locations, and they update the website information.

How to Use This Web Site: Each meetup date has a place for posting comments about that meetup; these are usually appreciations, greetings, and tips on parking.

If you want to discuss a play or a performance in more depth, or if you want to discuss the group itself, click the “Discussions” menu near the top of the page, and then click “Message Board.”

If you want to find out more about a play (such as lists of characters and how many lines each has), click “More” near the top of the page and then click “Files.”

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