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The light hearted comedy is part of the high school's annual Shakespeare series.

PMG PHOTO: GABBY URENDA - Senior Scamus Robison (middle) plays Benedick in the show. Much Ado About Nothing offers insight into gender roles, love and betrayal.

For the 10th year, Forest Grove High School is bringing Shakespeare to the stage.

The school's latest play, "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare, tells the story of Beatrice and Benedick, who have sworn off love but are secretly tricked into it.

The play also follows Hero, Beatrice's cousin, who falls in love with a well-respected young nobleman named Claudio. As Hero and Claudio prepare to marry, Claudio thinks his soon-to-be bride has been unfaithful.

The comedic play presents themes like gender, love and betrayal.

"Last year we did Shakespeare's 'Macbeth,' so I wanted to do something a little lighter this year," said Forest Grove High School drama director John Anderberg. "It's one of the most fun comedies, and knowing the students we have, I thought it'd be a good fit. It's just one of my favorites."

The two-hour show doesn't feature a "modernized" script, but audience members can expect a different setting than Italy in the 1600s.

"To give it a little bit of a twist, we are going for a futuristic kind of sci-fi setting," Anderberg said. "But it's kind of funny just also looking at the costumes, because they still have some Elizabethan feel to them."

PMG PHOTO: GABBY URENDA - Junior Madison Howarth plays sassy Beatrice in Forest Grove High Schools latest show, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

For junior Madison Howarth, who plays Beatrice, this is the first time she has liked a costume while performing in a play, she said. Howarth also is excited to bring sassy Beatrice to the stage.

"(Beatrice) is probably one of the best female roles in a Shakespeare play," Howarth said. "She's very independent, which is uncommon for women at the time because of social norms and stuff."

As for learning Shakespearean English, Howarth confessed she wasn't a fan right away.

"As soon as you figure out what your character's actually saying, it actually comes very naturally," she said. "But definitely in the cold read when you're seeing it for the first time, it's like, 'Oh my gosh, what's happening?'"

The school offers a Shakespearean English class for students to learn extensively about the playwright.

Anderberg hopes the play can teach the audience, and the students in the class, about the famous writer.

"Being able to kind of support that class and have an accessible live production that kids can come see is a good thing," Anderberg said. "It's also another style of acting for our students. The students are able to get that experience and do something classical."

PMG PHOTO GABBY URENDA - Forest Grove High Schools latest play by William Shakespeare tells the story of Beatrice and Benedick who have sworn off love but are secretly tricked into it.


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