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“We have statues to pee on,” says one of the characters, a Harvard student, while encouraging another to hurry up in “Little to Do with Anything.” Kirkland Drama Society’s newest production—its annual, very loose adaptation of a Shakespeare farce—is a version of “Much Ado About Nothing,” relocated to Cape Cod and set a week before graduation. The somewhat raunchy play features characters whose names and plot lines resemble those found in “Much Ado About Nothing” but whose unifying circumstance is the looming prospect of graduation from Harvard.
One of the authors of the script, William L. Ezekowitz ’17, talked about the inspiration behind the reimagined story. “Harvard students have an expectation of having it all figured out by the time you graduate,” he said. “I always thought, especially when I was a freshman, that as I progressed and got older, I would just learn and everything would make sense by the time I got to graduation.” The play examines the anxieties seniors experience in their last months as college students and jocularly comments on a number of tropes regarding the employment of Harvard graduates, ranging from investment banking to Teach for America. “I think that we tried to make the statement that things never really start to make sense,” Ezekowitz said.
Despite its title, “Little to Do with Anything” retains the spirit of the original play through witty exchanges between characters such as Benedick, renamed Ben in Kirkland Dramatic Society’s production, and Beatrice, who are also a former couple in the adaptation. “You go first, just like when we were in a relationship,” Beatrice says in one such dialogue.
On the other hand, the modernity and specificity of the setting also seems to alter the plot. Although the “nothing” in the original’s title did once rhyme with “noting,” meaning gossip, the intrigue in the adaptation is achieved through the use of fake Tinder profiles. Additionally, the emphasis on coupling up in Shakespeare’s original is removed in favour of the confusion experienced by the characters in their final days of college. Claudio’s and Hero’s careers in investment banking seem incompatible with seeing each other further. “I googled ‘i-banking,’ says Claudio, the handsome not too bright lacrosse player. “Yeah, I won’t have free time,” he realizes.
The outcome of the presidential election affected the play as well. “All of us saw the opportunity to use it as a way to get out some feelings and have some cathartic relief through comedy,” said Stefan Rajkovic ’17, who plays Pedro, Ben’s blockmate. Ben at one point proclaims, “I just wanted something to hold on to… like Michigan.” Audience member and Kirkland House resident Audrey Chen ’18, commented on the play’s treatment of the news on Nov. 8. “It’s a good way to just relax and to treat things in a more casual and light-hearted way,” she said.
The audience for the play’s premiere consisted mostly of Kirkland residents, and the play included many inside jokes referencing things such as the underground list. The script also included some inter-house rivalry. Combining a reference to the election with disparagement of one of Kirkland’s neighbors, one character described Winthrop as “the building equivalent of last Tuesday night.” Rajkovic described Kirkland Dramatic Society as a positive and unique aspect of Kirkand’s house life. “You can get involved and have another community in the house. It’s a lot of fun,” he said. The enthusiastic response of the audience at the end of the play suggested that they found watching the results of Kirkland Dramatic Society’s efforts equally enjoyable.
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