WARWICK-The Illustrious Theatre Company will present "Much Ado About Nothing"at the Warwick Valley Winery at its second annual "Shakespeare in the Orchard", July 16 through August 1. As with last summer's outdoor Shakespeare production, the acting talent is drawn from the region, including Orange, Sussex, and Bergen counties. On the technical side, sound is being provided by Sound Associates, one of the oldest and most respected production companies on Broadway; lighting by A&A Theatrical Lighting Company; and set design by Bryan Latham. The director is Mary Clifford, the company's artistic director, and technical direction is under Mike Castania. "Much Ado About Nothing" is one of Shakespeare's later comedies and unlike his earliest comedic works, the humor of "Much Ado
" does not solely depend upon funny situations. While it shares some standard devices with those earlier plays (misperceptions, disguises, false reports), the comedy of Much Ado is derived from the characters themselves and the mores of the society in which they lived. The main plot of Much Ado revolves around obstacles to the union of two young lovers (Claudio and Hero); however, the play's sub-plot, the "merry war" of the sexes between Beatrice and Benedick, is considered by many to be much more interesting and entertaining by comparison. Indeed, the play was staged for a long period of time under the title of "Beatrice and Benedick." It is generally considered one of Shakespeare's best comedies, because it combines elements of robust hilarity with more serious meditations on honor, shame, and court politics. Like "As You Like It" and "Twelfth Night," "Much Ado about Nothing," though interspersed with darker concerns, is a joyful comedy that ends with multiple marriages and no death s. The Warwick Valley Winery is located at 114 Little York Road, Warwick. Curtain time for Friday and Saturday is 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7:30p.m. The orchard opens about one hour earlier for those who would like to enjoy a picnic of the Warwick Valley Winery's menu or the special barbecue. "Bring your own lawn chair" is the preferred seating for most, although there will be a special area reserved for blankets.