Lion Players to present Shakespeare’s comedy with a heart

This spring, the student-led theater group at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, performs William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy "Much Ado About Nothing." At once passionate and bitingly funny, "Much Ado" is filled with some of the most brilliant comedic repartee ever written. Shakespeare combined robust hilarity with more serious meditations on shame, honor and court politics, resulting in a joyful comedy that ends with multiple marriages and no deaths.

In the Lion Players’ presentation, Nathan Kiliany stars as Claudio and Angela Simmons as Hero. The couple is to be married, but the devious scheming of a resentful prince (Jean-Raphael Mecier) looks set to thwart the nuptials. Claudio and Hero conspire with Don Pedro (Lou Mocniak) to set a love trap for Beatrice (Kaytlyne Povlik) and Benedick (Casey McManus), whose endless witty sparring threatens to keep them apart forever.

Nick Nicholson directs the 17-member cast and crew of Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s great plays that reminds us of the failings and triumphs of the human condition in our never-ending search for perfect love.

About 300 local high students from Laurel Highlands, Belle Vernon, Geibel Catholic and Connellsville attended the April 9 and 10 performances of "Much Ado about Nothing."

David Hartz, who teaches English/language arts and theater at Connellsville Area High School, commented on the importance of today’s students studying Shakespeare: “I believe a great work of literature gives students (and anyone else, for that matter) an opportunity to see themselves and the world around them from a number of different perspectives. There’s a little of Hamlet, Huck Finn, Gulliver or Tess in all of us.”

Hartz brought all of his classes to see "Much Ado" because he feels that the best way to experience the Bard’s work is through a live performance. He commented, “Shakespeare wrote for a diverse audience who wanted to be entertained, and his work reflected the cultural, political and social issues of his day, which, by the way, are the same ones we experience in our time.”

Last Updated April 11, 2014