Director Brian Kulick is respected for his Shakespeare stagings in New York City, where he has brought the obscure Timon of Athens, Pericles and The Winter's Tale to life for the Public Theatre. Nov. 20 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, he'll open his staging of a much better known work by the Bard, Much Ado About Nothing.
Much Ado About Nothing pits two strong-willed single people, Benedick and Beatrice, against one another as they fight like cats and dogs all the while falling in love. At the begining of the comedy, Benedick and his compadres are returning to the Italian countryside after fighting a war; in Kulick's interpretation, this is World War I. In a statement, Kulick said, "What fascinates me about this play is the emotional journey of these soldiers returning from the war and how they reintegrate into society. This play is about how people find their balance after a terrible event."
Kulick has directed works by Aeschylus, Euripides, Goethe, Beaumarchais and Buchner. Recent credits include Kit Marlowe for the Public Theatre, The Wax and Two Sisters and a Piano.
Sterling Brown and Francesca Faridany play the feuding lovers Benedick and Beatrice. Also in the cast are Elijah Alexander (Tantalus, Shopping and Fucking) as Don John, Atosa Baboff as Ursula, Michael Brusasco as Claudio, Noel True (St. Lucy's Eyes) as Hero, Hector Correa as Conrad/Friar, Geoff Hoyle (The Green Bird) as Dogberry, Julian Lopez-Morillas as Leonato, Andy Murray (Fall) as Borachio, Charles Shaw Robinson as Don Pedro and Stacy Ross as Margaret.
The design team features frequent Kulick collaborator Mark Wendland (Timon of Athens, A Dybbuk) creating the sets, Tony winner Ann Hould-Ward, the costumes and Michael Chybowski, the lighting. Matthew Spiro is the sound designer. Berkeley Repertory Theatre is located at 2025 Addison Street. For tickets ($15.99-$51), call (510) 647-2949. Berkeley Rep is on the web at http://www.berkeleyrep.org.
— By Christine Ehren