Behind the curtains of Much Ado About Nothing


Poster by Hans Herrera

Arya Nade, School News Writer

This fall, the Glenbard South Theater Department is donning a full production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” The play is a William Shakespeare comedy; it is a  story about love, but also one of mistaken identity. Opening night is on Thursday, November 18, and performances will be held from the 18th-20th every night at 7:30pm. “Much Ado About Nothing” is a William Shakespeare comedy. It is a love story but also one of mistaken identity. The tickets cost $8, although teachers and staff do get two free tickets.


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Summary of “Much Ado About Nothing”


The main characters Beatrice (played by Megan Miskovic) and Benedict (played by Alina Dukala) have both sworn that they will never marry or fall in love. However through the entire show, the characters build up great chemistry together. If they allowed themselves to see it, they would realise how perfect they are for each other. Next there are the characters Claudio(played by Zach Henry) and Hero (played by Ella Larramore), who fall in love at first sight. However, Prince Don Pedro (played by Robert West), soon arrives with Benedict and Claudio to the home of Leonata (played by Emma Pekkarinen). Beatrice, Hero, and the Prince’s brother Don John (played by Hans Herrera) also come with. Don John is a rather jealous fellow and he decides that he is going to try to get back his brother, Prince Don Pedro, through his brothers’ friends, specifically Claudio. To do so, Don John makes it appear as though Hero has been unfaithful (during that time in history, if you were alone or even kissed a man, one’s reputation would be ruined). Don Pedro says that Hero had been disloyal, and made  some promiscuous choices. This leads Claudio to decide to completely humiliate Hero in front of everyone, at their wedding. He makes a declaration that Hero had been with someone else, which of course was untrue. In actuality it was Don John’s watchmen who made it seem like he was with Hero when in reality it was  just a serving lady. This results in Hero and Claudio being kept from one another because while Hero claims innocence, rightfully so, Claudio does not believe her. Throughout the rest of the play, Benedict and Beatrice have to figure out how to get their two best friends back together, while everyone else is trying to get Beatrice and Benedict to realize that they love one another.

Behind the Curtains with Director Jessica Keuth-Rahtjen 


When asked why the theater department chose to do a Shakespeare production this season, Keuth-Rahtjen said that Glenbard South Theater had not done Shakespeare in years and “wanted to create balance in the season with something a little more challenging for our students who are part of the cast and crew.” Compared to the previous play, “Red vs. Wolf,” “Much Ado About Nothing” is more challenging as it has more acts and technical components that go into its production. Keuth-Rahtjen remarked, “I forgot how demanding a full show is and it has been great. The students have really stepped up, but I think even they forgot how much of a requirement it is to memorize lines and keep track of everything for a two hour show.” The last long play the department produced was “Clue”, which was “seventy minutes on a good day,” and over zoom. The last in-person, full production the department performed was “Little Mermaid,” pre-pandemic. “It has been  a minute since we have had this much to remember and keep track of,” said Keuth-Rahtjen remembering how challenging it has been to get back to the way things were. Time is of the essence when it comes to putting together a play. “It never feels like you have enough of it, it feels like we had just enough time but we still have urgency yet don’t feel over rehearsed,” added Keuth-Rahtjen. Every person who has worked on the play has put great effort and time into bringing it to life.

When it comes to putting on a production the cast and audience will appreciate, it is important to consider what age group the play will be intended for. While “Red vs. Wolf” was a play that attracted an  audience of various ages, “Much Ado About Nothing” is a play that will attract a more mature audience because of its story and time period. Due to when the play was written, the cast had to take extra time to learn what their lines meant and how they would be able convey the story to the audience meaningfully. Keuth-Rahtjen said, “What I love about this play is that students have made it their own, they have taken the world of Shakespeare and made it understandable to a twenty-first century audience.”  

Keuth-Rahtjen described the difficulties that have surfaced because of covid-restrictions as being “Harder in terms of costume and hair and makeup because we have to be really careful about cross-contaminating.” As they will have masks on during their performance, the actors are using this as an opportunity to still communicate with their whole body instead of just their face.” In a perfect world, Keuth-Rahtjen says that they would change things where the cast would be able to perform without masks, safely. 


Keuth-Rahtjen hopes the audience receives the message that “It’s important to talk to your people and have a conversation with the people you care about as opposed to listening to rumours. In a less philosophical way, specifically to the show I hope they see the joy highschool students get in creating something.” 

Behind the Curtains with Tech Director Kelli Lawrence – Build & Paint

Lawrence is incharge of building the set, this includes collaborating on a set design with the other directors, physically building the set and even painting it. She chose to be a Build Crew sponsor because she had always wanted to go into teaching high school students. “I always had an amazing time being a part of tech crew when I was in high school, I wanted to help other students to make those memories as well,” said Lawrence. This being her first year,  Lawrence went all out with the set. She wanted to prove herself and build a set that truly captures the essence of the play. “I would’ve loved another week to build the set, but it was more time than Red vs. the Wolf, we had less than a month for that.” 

When asked if she loves Glenbard South, Lawrence responded, “I love it, mainly because everyone is so open here, people respect each other’s pronouns and sexual orientations. Coming here I just feel like it’s very open and positive and I absolutely love that energy.” 


Putting tremendous effort into building a set and finally having it be presented to an audience can be really exciting. This set took six weeks to create with the help of the build and paint crews. Lawrence is proud of the collaboration that went into this show, as everyone pushed themselves into building the best possible set. “I pushed myself when Keuth-Rahtjen said she wanted a curved staircase, I did not know that was going to happen. It makes me excited that we were able to complete a task that has never been done before at our school and that the audience will get to see how hard everyone had worked.” 

Lawrence hopes that the students learn something new each time they work on building a set. “I get really excited about teaching this because it’s stuff that you can use in your daily life, like learning how to pick the right screw… At the beginning I was so nervous about who could do what but now I can tell anyone of my students to cut me three pieces of wood and I trust them completely to be able to do so,” said Lawrence. 


Behind the Curtains with Tech Director Stephanie Wallace – Sound & Lights

Stephanie Wallace is the director of lights and sound, Tech Crew is responsible for the way the show looks and sounds, “which includes music cues, announcements, sound effects, microphones, and programming the lights.” When asked why she chose to sponsor Tech Crew, Wallace responded, “Tech Crew kind of chose me, I was not involved heavily in theater until I got a job here and we built the new auditorium. The person who used to be in charge of tech retired and nobody else really knew how to do this. The school asked me if I was interested in learning and I said ‘sure’.” It was a new experience for Wallace, and she learned along the way from others who had experience. Twenty years later, Wallace knows the ins and outs of lights and sound like the back of her hands. “I am just so excited about doing live theater, our cast and crew are amazing, kind and empathetic human beings,” said Wallace when asked what she was most excited about. Wallace hopes her tech students “learn to love and be part of a family, something that’s bigger than themselves.” 

Behind the Curtains with Costumes Director Ellen Hill


Mrs. Hill is in charge of costumes and makeup for the cast. “My journey through the GBS Theatre world started when I was a student here in 1999.  I adored our theatre program and was an active participant throughout my 4 years here.  I love working with our other directors and contributing to our productions.  Working with my costume crew is always a highlight of my school years.  I get to meet a new crop of students for every production, and the time spent getting to know my crew is nothing short of a joyful experience,” responded Hill when asked what inspired her to be incharge of the costume department. 


Costumes are a huge part of a production because they bring the characters to life, costumes and makeup are a visual that help the audience grasp at the story being presented. When asked why costumes are important in a production, Hill said, “A character’s individual costume also shares a myriad of unspoken clues regarding their personality, profession, and sense of self.  From a costume crew member’s perspective, costuming is an integral step in the production process, adding to the depth and understanding of the entire show.  It helps establish tone and setting of the overall production.  From an actor’s perspective, a costume helps develop a deeper sense of character understanding and to more fully connect with their character and setting. Finally, from my unique perspective as a costume coordinator, it is a great joy to watch students accept their costumes, feel excited about their looks, and watch them transform from high school students to their characters right before my (and their) eyes!” 

Hill is particularly excited about this play because it is a Shakespeare piece, “It’s always a fun challenge to tackle Shakespeare, specifically because the director can elect to change the setting/time period.  In this case, Keuth-Rahtjen envisioned a Regency Era setting which had a beautiful fashion style!” Hill hopes that everyone can attend the show and witness the students’ hard work. 

There are numerous components that go into producing a show, even at a local high school. Teachers and students must prioritize the show and head to rehearsal almost everyday to prepare to give their best efforts in producing a memorable show. From day one, students are assigned roles. Whether it be in the cast or crew, everyone has a job that must be fulfilled. The Drama Honor Society hopes that you can make it to the play and enjoy live theater once again.