Nothing Much To Do

Date: 2014
Posted by: Nothing Much To Do
Cast: Harriett Maire (Beatrice Duke), Pearl Kennedy (Hero Duke), Jake McGregor (Benedick Hobbes), Matthew J. Smith (Claudio), Caleb Wells (Peter “Pedro” Donaldson), George Maunsell (John Donaldson), Holly Parkes (Georgia “Verges”), David Hannah (Hugh “Dogberry”), Tina Pan (Ursula), Jessia Stansfield (Margaret “Meg” Winter), Reuben Hudson (Stanley Balthazar Jones), John Burrows (Robert “Robbie” Borachio), Lucie Everett-Brown (Cora Petunia Anderson), Alex MacDonald (Leo Duke)
Credits: The Candle Wasters (Claris Jacobs, Elsie Bollinger, Minnie Grace, Sally Bollinger); sound director Jessi Golding
Duration: 83 videos

BardBox returns, after a four year hiatus, because there is so much good and interesting original Shakespeare production continuing to appear online, and the best of it needs documenting. A prime example is this delightful dramatised vlog the creation of a four-women creative tram from New Zealand called the Candle Wasters. Set in and around a New Zealand high school, it presents a modernised take on Much Ado About Nothing in the form of a vlog, with the various characters taking to the camera to share their thoughts with us.

Above is the first video in the series, in which Beatrice self-consciously introduces herself in standard vlog manner. In subsequent videos we follow the two stories of Hero and Claudio, and Beatrice and Benedick. In keeping with the multiple-viewpoint approach, there are different YouTube channels for the different characters. Beatrice and Hero share Nothing Much To Do; Benedick (Ben) speaks to us through benaddicktion; and Ursula makes videos for us via the Watch Projects channel. There are also Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Tumblr pages, and so on

This is an exceptional undertaking, absolutely in tune with its times. The parts are winningly performed and the plot and themes of Shakespeare’s plays credibly translated to twenty-first century New Zealand. It makes the transition of the sexual politics of Shakespeare’s era to the preoccupations of modern times seem not too forced, and it finds space for both the light and the dark, even if it is happier when things are happy. Compared to the complicated and rather heavy-handed attempt by the Royal Shakespeare Company to embrace the social media era with its Midsummer Night’s Dreaming of 2013, this seems unforced, a logical way of retelling what Shakespeare has to say, through the media and method most likely to be appreciated by its target audience. It also ably demonstrates how online video can free us from the stage by breaking down the received narrative and exploring its constituent parts afresh. This is why Shakespeare belongs on YouTube.

The Candle Wasters have gone on to translate Love’s Labour’s Lost into Lovely Little Losers, and have promised their own take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, entitled Bright Summer Night, for later in 2016.

The Candle Wasters
Nothing Much To Do YouTube channel
benaddicktion YouTube channel
Watch Projects YouTube channel
Playlist of all episodes
Wikipedia series entry
Other Not Much To Do channels (Facebook, Twitter, Tumble, Instagram etc)