Jazz band music and post-war costumes like flapper dresses and hats set the stage for an unusual Shakespeare production at Barclay College last weekend.

The Barclay College Theatre Department put on their first fall play in the Ross Ellis Center for Fine Arts. Randi Snyder, who directed the two highly successful spring musicals, has moved to Haviland to take on a full-time position as the head of the theatre department.
Snyder’s most recent successful production was Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, but with a twist. This time, the characters were just coming home from World War II. To take a play written 420 years ago and adapt it to the 1940’s is no easy task. Some things done to accomplish the post-war celebratory mood included a 16 piece jazz band, led by Barclay College professor Jared Ross.
Cast members donned flapper dresses and beautiful hats, along with military uniforms to introduce the post-war setting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tyree Singleton, who played Benedick, knocked it out of the park on his first-ever time as an actor. In past productions, Singleton volunteered to run the spotlight. This time, with 30 minutes left during auditions, he took a chance and ended up being the lead.  
“This will sound really cliche, but my favorite part of the play was everything! From the read-throughs and the rehearsals, to getting to know so many wonderful and talented people! There are so many things that I loved about the play that I probably couldn't boil it all down to one sentence. But I would encourage others to try out new things and experiences, and not just to create new and genuine relationships, but also to challenge yourself and push your limitations,” said Tyree, on his favorite part of this experience.
Benedick’s love interest, Beatrice, was played by Freshman Ariel Coleman. Coleman has quite the opposite experience of Singleton. She has been in community theater since 5th grade. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is her favorite piece from the playwright, so it was a no brainer for her to audition.
When asked what her favorite part of the play was, Ariel said this “My favorite part of the play was honestly acting with Tyree because he is such a talented actor and he was always so uplifting even on the days everyone was tired.” They made quite the duo on stage.
The cast of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing put on two shows on Friday, December 6th and Saturday, December 7th.
This is all gearing up for the colleges’ third spring musical, Mary Poppins, April 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 2020. Look for highlights of the cast, crew, and production of Mary Poppins in the Pratt Tribune leading up to the show.