Theater: Courtship and Cozening

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Dogberry, the buffoon-cop in Much Ado About Nothing, seems unable to know his duty, let alone do it. Yet through his good offices, villains and sweethearts alike get theirs. So it is with A.J. Antoon, 27, the Joseph Papp prodigy-protegé who staged That Championship Season. Now Antoon has directed the New York Shakespeare Festival celebration of Much Ado as if unaware of the usual approach to Shakespearean farce, the mannered conceits that often seem aimed at pleasing only the performers and antiquarians. Ignorant of his "duty," Antoon knows only that the play is a comedy and...

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