Photography by Cylla von Tiedemann for Tarragon Theatre
Much Ado about Brampton
You know you are a big city when you become the centre of a new play. Much Ado About Nothingnow playing at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto is set in modern day Brampton. A plot line originally told by Shakespeare in 1598, it was time for a remake of this kind.
A good story is meant to be told over and over again, even if we return to the past and redo it for modern times. Remaking Shakespeare is not something new; this latest retake is unique, as it’s reinterpreted for a 21st century Greater Toronto Area audience.
Leonato’s household becomes the suburban home of Mayor Ranjit of Brampton, while Don Pedro’s troupe has briefcase toting business men in Armani-esque couture, and Bramalea is owned by billionaire business mogul Lord Tata. Names are changed as is customary in cultural remakes, but the core of Shakespeare’s story remains – two couples in different stages of love get into the turmoil of lies, deception, misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
Directed by Richard Rose, with collaboration by consulting director Ravi Jain, choreographer Nova Bhattacharya and cultural consultant/Hindi translator Sharada Eswar, their remake successfully transposes a classic tale while respecting cultures, geographical locations and genres. Their version is full of funny moments, as well as tragedy as in the original, but the way they reworked areas of the original manuscript to incorporate Hindi with English subtitles, and the deliberate cross-cultural ways they deal with certain situations, nothing of the story premise is lost in translation. If anything, it is all the better for it.
You do not have to be Shakespearean to appreciate Much Ado About Nothing, only a proud Bramptonian with a sense of humour. This show is totally worth the drive into Toronto.