Acorn Theatre’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing” opened Wednesday at a Walker coffee shop.
The Shakespearean spirited romantic comedy has its second performance Thursday at Wholly Ground, 27988 Walker South Road.
Director Shane Stewart said the comedy will hit the road Saturday and Sunday for shows at Zoar Baptist Church in Central.
Stewart, a theater teacher, started Acorn Theatre three years ago to bring more Shakespeare productions to Livingston Parish.
Stewart taught in the Livingston Parish talented theater program before moving to McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School of Visual and Performing Arts in Baton Rouge.
His love of Shakespeare has brought Stewart to tour the Bard’s birthplace and all over England, he said. He’s also visited “any place relating to Shakespeare, including Italy, and the various cities his plays are set in.”
Many of the actors who have performed in Acorn Theatre productions have been former or current students. The group practices mostly in Stewart’s home.
“I have taught many of the actors for years, and they were all off from college over the summers, so I called them up and we got together to put on a play,” he said.
In the play, the characters of Beatrice and Benedick elevate the art of the quarrel in their duel of wordplay, while Claudio and Hero are instantly smitten with one another, Stewart said. However, the scheming and envious Don John vows to ruin Claudio and Hero’s happiness. The play has been transported to the 1940s South Pacific.
Justin Stafford and Madeline Miley play the roles of Benedick and Beatrice, respectively. Stafford is a graduate of LSU and is an accomplished writer. He’s making his second appearance in an Acorn Theatre production.
Miley, who made her debut with Acorn Theatre in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” is a student at LSU. Joey Carroll, a Live Oak High graduate, plays Claudio. He will be attending Northwestern State University on scholarship for musical theater, Stewart said. His past Acorn Theatre credits include roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “A Comedy of Errors.”
Haley Miller, a senior at Live Oak High, plays Hero. This is also her third performance with Acorn Theatre.
The cast also includes Tate Sibley, a student at University of Louisiana at Monroe, as the prince Don Pedro, and Miranda Bordelon, a Southeastern Louisiana University student, as Leonato, Hero’s mother and Beatrice’s aunt. Stewart plays Don John, the bastard brother of Don Pedro.
Kelsey Murray, an LSU student, appears as Antonia, Leonato’s sister, while Megan Robertson, a Walker High graduate and SLU student, appears as Margaret.
Joni Bankston, a UNO student, takes the stage as Dogberry, the constable who is a master of malapropisms. Skyler McMorris and Courtney Jarrell appear as Borachio and Conrade, respectively. Makaylee Secrest, of McKinley Middle, plays Dogberry’s sidekick Verges, while Ava Turner and Amber Lemoine will play Seacole and Otecake.
Justin Stafford has designed the tropical South Pacific island setting where the play takes place. Stewart designed the costumes.
Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. For more information, call (225) 454-9189 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.