Shakespeare favorite is next in Fredonia Mainstage Series

Photo by Fabricio Logan The Department of Theatre and Dance production of “Much Ado About Nothing” features, from left, Katelyn Crall as Beatrice, James Lillin as Don Pedro and Patrick Brett as Benedick. The production runs from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 in Marvel Theatre at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

One of William Shakespeare’s most popular works will be the next offering in the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The Department of Theatre and Dance will present six performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 in Bartlett Theatre on the Fredonia campus. The director is Theatre and Dance faculty member Paul Mockovak.

“Our production concept is about a fusion between the traditional and the non,” Mockovak said. “I am not setting it in a specific time period and the look and feel will have a contemporary edge with an infusion of the traditional. This allows for the audience to be engaged in the text as well as being able to put the story into a more familiar context. But there will be color, vibrancy, and a very beautiful look and feel.”

Written during the height of Shakespeare’s career, “Much Ado About Nothing” is comically just that: a large commotion over a simple misconception. The plot follows a variety of characters, including the playfully fierce rivalry between young Beatrice and Benedick as well as the budding love between romantics Claudio and Hero.

With an amusing and fast-paced exchange of increasingly inaccurate information, “Much Ado About Nothing” allow audiences to sit back and laugh.

“For many, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is one of Shakespeare’s more popular works,” Mockovak said. “People love to watch the verbal sparring between Beatrice and Benedick. Some sources say it was written around 1598-1599 as Shakespeare was approaching the middle part of his career. It combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious themes of love, honor, shame, deception and politics. It is also one of his works that does not have murder, duels, battles, death, and is more prose than poetry.”

More than 80 students will be involved in bringing this Mainstage production to the stage. That includes a cast of 20, a production/design team of 23 and a building/running crew of 41.

“The biggest and best highlights (of Mainstage productions) continue to be our department’s talented students,” Mockovak said. “The design and stage management teams and the actors are all students from a variety of degree programs who will, I believe, bring this story to a full three-dimensional whole. They are doing fine, fine work.”

The director also noted there are “a couple surprises that the production concept allows me to explore and develop which expand the comedic elements and also allow for the moments of dramatic tension and poignancy.”

In the end, Mockovak hopes audiences will be “engaged and leave entertained and satisfied.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” is sponsored by Pucci’s Carpet One Furniture and Bedding as part of the 2017-18 Lake Shore Savings Season.

Tickets are available through the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 and online at