Much Ado About Nothing

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.

Men were deceivers ever-

one foot on sea, and one on shore,

to one thing constant never.

Then sigh not so, but let them go

and be you blithe and bonnie,

converting all your songs of woe

into hey, nonny, nonny!

The simple song from the 1993 Kenneth Branagh film runs through my head, along with visions of the beautiful European countryside in the heat of summer.

When Sylvia mentioned her enjoyment of an outdoor theater in Wisconsin that puts on Shakespeare, I asked if she had seen any of Kenneth Branagh’s movies. I picked up a copy of Much Ado at Half-Wit to review it, in case she wanted to watch it together sometime. The first time I watched this movie was my freshman year of high school. We all fell in love with it for some reason…it probably had something to do with being immature high school girls that had crushes on "cute" movie stars or being drawn to emotionally charged movie soundtracks.

I remembered that there would be two possibly objectional parts to the movie: the bare backsides of bathers shown during the opening credits and the scene where Margaret is mistaken for Hero on the balcony at night. After watching the movie again, I wasn’t so much offended by the content of the story, but rather that actors and actresses would be so willing to perform these scenes for the public eye.

Does Ephesians 5 relate to this sort of thing? I’m especially thinking about vs 3-12…For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

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Categories: Entertainment | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Much Ado About Nothing

  1. Unknown

    You might as well ask,Why do we put icing on a cake? It’s not healthy, but people still do it. Paul says"And walk in love…"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." When he says "not be once named", does he mean that Christians don’t talk about that, or does he mean that Christians aren’t know to do those things? In vs. 2, he’s talking about "walk", but in vs. 4, about "talk".You’re right about vs. 12; he says "shameful to speak," but how does that pan out when you read Old Testament stories about fornication, uncleanness and covetousness? You question why actors would be willing to perform these scenes. I think you’re commenting on undress, but what about other sins? Would a Christian actor not be able to act out a murder or lie?

  2. Katrina

    The shameful thing I was referring to was fornication. Yes, it is part of the play \ story, but do we need to SEE and HEAR it?Something our pastor said when The Passion movie was in discussion came to mind this morning. Pastor McLachlan pointed out that in the Bible we aren’t given ALL the gory details of the crucifiction, yet we can still understand ( enough ) Christ’s suffering… perhaps (?) you see this in the OT too, we read about David’s sin with Bathsheba, but we aren’t given a play-by-play of the affair. It’s our choice whether an explicit picture is developed in our imagination–it’s not billboarded on the television screen for us.

  3. Katrina

    Oh, and by the way…some reasons to put icing on cakes:~ to smooth things over a.k.a. hide mistakes~ beauty \ artistry (debatable depending on the artist!)~ preserve moisture of the actual grain of the cake

  4. Unknown

    When you put it that way, I don’t know if the icing metaphor holds up. The "mature" elements of a performance don’t necessarily stop it from being dry. Some things that don’t bother me to read or view when alone, really do bother me when I’m with others. Maybe the difference is communal? I wouldn’t feel comfortable reading some OT stories to children’s church. Shakespeare’s saving grace today is that people don’t understand the language enough to catch the dirty jokes. He realized that an art work that was whole could contain profane and sacred elements, just like life. Actors on stage can present moments of life that would normally be intimate. Can we talk truely about human beings without talking about those things?

  5. Unknown

    But a Christian actor doesn’t have to actually kill someone to act out murder, or tell a lie in order to act it out. He would have to take his clothes off and climb in bed in order to commit fornication.I don’t have a problem with reading reality, though I don’t think a great deal of the wallowing in the mud is reality: most of it isn’t very bothered with truth, let alone honesty. Shakespeare was concerned with both. The Bible says that we are to think on such things, and implies that in these things there is some amount of virtue and of praise. But I do have a problem supporting actual sins committed for my entertainment, for which people will be damned, unless they have already been nailed to the Cross. But I don’t know that all of it can be avoided, because many things that have virtue and praise are produced by non-Christians? Perhaps its part of discernment that (I think Charles Williams says this) in every experience we have to separate the good from the bad, not just experience from experience. And it’s probably all tied up with Christian liberty: it’s the kind of thing that ought to be submitted in love to the conscience of weaker brethren, if we are causing anyone else to stumble. (And certainly if we ourselves are stumbling…)I don’t much care for that presentation of Much Ado about Nothing, either. Henry V is Branaugh’s best performance that I’ve seen– really good. He did all right in Harry Potter, too :-).

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