The cast of Much Ado About Nothing incorporates modern-day events into their storytelling


Leah Allen '22

The cast of the Upper School fall play produced a virtual performance of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, incorporating modern technological elements into their storytelling.

The cast and crew of the Upper School fall play, Much Ado About Nothing, brought elements of romance, deception, and comedy to life in creative and innovative ways.  In compliance with restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Sacred Heart Greenwich Theatre Department decided to pre-record the play this year and broadcast it to the school community Saturday, November 21.

Piper Gilbert ’21, Katie O’Shea ’21, Charlotte Burchetta ’22, Emma Pope ’21, and Michala Rogers ’21 perform a scene over Zoom.  Leah Allen ’22

Much Ado About Nothing is a comedic play written by William Shakespeare that centers around two romantic relationships between the characters of Benedick, played by junior Isabel Lehrman, and Beatrice, played by senior Katie O’Shea, as well as Claudio and Hero, played by junior Charlotte Burchetta and senior Michala Rogers respectively.  The plot follows the ways in which rumors, miscommunication, and meddling disrupt these relationships.

Miss Michaela Gorman ’05, Upper School Drama Teacher and Director of Drama Productions, directed the fall play this year with the assistance of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05, Director of the Bell Choir, who served as the technical director and musical composer.  Under their direction, cast members spent months rehearsing and recording scenes outdoors on Sacred Heart grounds, individually at their own homes, and virtually over Zoom.  Miss Gorman made the creative decision to set this production in the present-day in order to incorporate, rather than avoid, modern elements such as physical distancing, face masks, and Zoom calls.

As this year’s play did not take place on the stage, actors had the opportunity to experiment with certain visual and creative elements.  They were able to include modern technology in their storytelling as various scenes took place over Zoom, FaceTime, or via text message.  Additionally, all cast members who participated in scenes recorded in person had to wear masks, which forced them to emphasize body language in order to better convey emotion.

Katie shared that her experience adapting to the new format of the play has helped her grow as an actor.

“It’s been challenging to strike a balance between acting for the stage and acting for the screen in this production,” Katie said.  “It’s definitely a different experience to be switching between myself and my character, Beatrice, so often between takes, which isn’t something I’m used to doing on stage.  Even so, it’s been really rewarding to learn this skill as an actor, and it’s something I hope I can keep with me in the future.”

The cast of Much Ado About Nothing takes their final bows virtually.  Leah Allen ’22

The new format of the play also allowed students who are attending Sacred Heart virtually this semester to participate in the production.  The cast recorded much of the play individually over Zoom, enabling students to collaborate creatively from a distance.  Junior Isabella Stewart, who is currently participating in distance learning, acts in both the Sacred Heart fall play and winter musical every year.  She expressed her gratitude for still having the opportunity to work on the play this year.

“Since I am learning virtually, I didn’t think I would still be able to do the play,” Isabella said.  “Ms. Gorman reached out to me a few days after auditions were announced, and let me know that I could still participate via Zoom.  I am incredibly happy to still be a part of the cast.”

The cast of Much Ado About Nothing was able to embrace modern challenges and deliver a comedic and heartwarming production.  Miss Gorman commended the cast, crew, and the rest of the Theatre Department on their resilience, flexibility, and creativity.

“This production is, of course, fundamentally different from anything our theatre department has done before,” Miss Gorman said.  “At the beginning, I know that this must have felt like a daunting prospect for our cast, and yet they have been nothing but positive and engaged from day one.  They have been willing to jump in during every rehearsal and try something brand new, whether it was acting while sitting in front of a Zoom setup or adjusting physicality to convey personality while wearing a mask.”

Featured Image by Leah Allen ’22