Much Ado about Nothing

Since this is Shakespeare’s Shorts, this is much ado about even less than nothing.  Our evil villain, Don John, is rich and bored.  For a hobby, he decides to manipulate the budding romance between Hero, the Heroine and Claudio, the Hero (yeah that messes us up, too).  Hero and Claudio, for a hobby, decide to manipulate the cutting romance between Beatrice, the wit, and Benedick, the wag.  Beatrice and Benedick imitate a middle school mating ritual by using insults as a form of courtship.  Meanwhile, Dogberry just wants to be understood.  This play has all the drama of a high school hallway without any of the graphic kissing!

Running time: approximately 12 minutes

Cast size: 4 Males, 2 Females, & 1 M/F

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CHARACTERS

DON JOHN (M) an evil, disgruntled, scheming aristocrat.

LACKEY (M) the name pretty much says it all.

DOGBERRY (M/F) the name pretty much—Oh. Wait.  Justice of the Peace misrepresented by William Shakespeare.

HERO (F) falls head-over-heels in love with Claudio at the drop of a hat.

CLAUDIO (M) ditto for him, except, you know, for Hero.

BEATRICE (F) tremendously witty and secretly in love with Benedick.

BENEDICK (M) ditto for him, except, you know, for Beatrice.

 

SAMPLE PAGES:

(Lights up. Enter DON JOHN & LACKEY.)

DON JOHN: I’m depressed, Lackey.

LACKEY: I can relate to that.

DON JOHN: Excuse me? How on earth could you, a low-life, lickspittle Lackey, understand the problems of the one percent?

LACKEY: Oh. I thought you were depressed about your name.

DON JOHN: My name?

LACKEY: Don John? It’s even worse than Lackey. “Are you done on the john?” I can’t think of a worse name than Don John.

DOGBERRY: (Enters and nods toward DON JOHN & LACKEY.) Don John. Lackey.

LACKEY/DON JOHN: Dogberry. (DOGBERRY exits after this brief exchange.) 

LACKEY: I take it back: there are worse names. So, what are the problems of the one percent?

DON JOHN: I’m incredibly wealthy, privileged, powerful, and handsome.

LACKEY: Yep. That’s a real first world problem you’ve got there.

DON JOHN: But no one gives me the love and respect I deserve.

LACKEY: Well, your Nobleness –

DON JOHN: Shut up, Lackey. Don’t they get that I’m a job creator? Without me, peasants would have no back-breaking work. Don’t they know anything about trickle-down economics?

LACKEY: Oh, we get trickled down on plenty, your Supplysideness.

DON JOHN: Darn right. But do I feel the love?

(CLAUDIO and HERO enter from opposite sides of the stage. They freeze when they catch sight of each other, and their faces become overly-bright with rapturous love.) 

CLAUDIO: Prithee! What rapturous vision of loveliness assaults mine eyes? Wouldst thou, fair maiden, consent to be mine wife?

HERO: You had me at “Prithee.”

(CLAUDIO and HERO embrace and do air kisses with kissy-kissy sounds.) 

DON JOHN: Ugh.

LACKEY: For once I agree with you, your Upperclassness.

(DOGBERRY enters, separates HERO and CLAUDIO, and writes them a ticket.) 

CLAUDIO: What are you doing?

DOGBERRY: Writing you a ticket.

HERO: Because our love is forbidden?

DOGBERRY: Nope. That’s Romeo and Juliet.

HERO: Oh. Because our love is violent?

DOGBERRY: The Taming of the Shrew.

HERO: Oh. Because our love is destined to end in tragic death?

DOGBERRY: Nope. That’s Spiderman. I’m writing you a ticket for public displays of affection. What do you think this is, a high school hallway? (Hands them a ticket and exits.) 

DON JOHN: (To HERO & CLAUDIO.) What is wrong with you two? You think you should get married? Infatuation is no basis for a legal partnership. (To HERO.) Do you know his net worth? (To CLAUDIO.) Do you know her credit rating? Do you even know how much she owes in student loans?

CLAUDIO: (To HERO.) Hello. Did you go to college?

HERO: Yes.

CLAUDIO: (To DON JOHN.) All right. She’s in hock up to her eyeballs. But I love the brainy types. (To HERO.) I love you. My name is Claudio.

HERO: I love you, too. My name is Hero.