Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jenny Oldfield Read Free Book Online

Book: Much Ado About Nothing by Jenny Oldfield Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jenny Oldfield
Claudio.
    â€˜We’ve exchanged insults,’ Benedick reports.
    â€˜If that’s all you’ve done, I’m leaving,’ says the girl for whom the term ‘high maintenance’ was invented.
    â€˜No – stay. I threw down a challenge and am waiting to hear his reaction.’ Benedick smiles and tries to lighten the mood. ‘Now, tell me, Bea – for which of my
bad
parts did you fall in love with me?’
    â€˜All of them!’ she says. ‘For which of my
good
parts did you fall in love with me?’
    They joke a bit more, trying to take their minds off the problem in hand. ‘At least life with you will never be boring,’ he tells her. Then he asks how Hero is.
    â€˜She’s not doing well, and neither am I,’ Beatrice admits. You do get these glimpses of truth from her sometimes.
    â€˜Let my love make you better,’ he whispers, moving in for a cuddle.
    But the sweet talk is cut short by a message from Ursula.
    â€˜The whole place is in chaos,’ she tells them. ‘It’s been proved that Hero is innocent and that John tricked Pedro and Claudio into believing her crime. Come quickly!’

    The sun has sunk over the horizon, it’s the dead of night, I’m here all alone with my hand-held camera and Pedro and Claudio have come to Hero’s grave carrying candles. Claudio reads a poem praising Hero, then there’s music and a song, all very sad and solemn.
    â€˜Blow out the candles,’ Pedro orders. ‘It’s almost dawn. Time to go to the villa for your wedding to Leonato’s niece.’

    Daylight and everyone’s here at the villa – Leonato, Antonio, Benedick, Beatrice, Margaret, Ursula, the priest and Hero.
    Antonio says out loud what everyone’s thinking: ‘I’m glad it’s all turned out OK.’
    (In other words, it’s been much ado about nothing. So, viewers, stop taking things so seriously, sit back and relax.)
    The girls go off into an inner room while Leonato finalises the plans. Benedick reckons this is the moment to seize his chance.
    â€˜You realise that Beatrice and I are in love?’ he asks Leonato. ‘So how would it be if she and I got married today?’
    â€˜Fine,’ Leonato agrees – a spur of the moment decision, just like that.
    Benedick puts in his request in the nick of time, because now Pedro and Claudio are knocking at the door.
    Then it’s all hustle and bustle to get the girls back in the room, their faces hidden behind veils. Leonato quickly lines Claudio up in frontof the priest, alongside Hero-in-a-veil. ‘Are you ready to marry my niece?’ he checks.
    â€˜I’m ready!’ Claudio vows. He takes the girl’s hand, clears his throat and makes his announcement. ‘I swear in front of the priest, I’ll be your husband, if you’ll have me.’
    Hero doesn’t keep him in suspense. She lifts her veil. ‘When I lived, I was your other wife,’ she says. ‘And you were my other husband!’
    Ta da! Claudio and Pedro go into one of their speechless spasms. Leonato is rushing everyone off to church when Benedick steps forward to steal the show.
    â€˜Where’s Beatrice?’ he demands.
    She lifts her veil. ‘Here I am.’
    BENEDICK: Do you love me?
    BEATRICE: No more than reason.
    BENEDICK: Then you fooled Claudio and Pedro. They swore you did.
    BEATRICE: Do
you
love
me
?
    BENEDICK: No more than reason.
    BEATRICE: Then you fooled Hero. Sheswore you did.
    BENEDICK (obviously enjoying every moment of this): They swore you were sick with love!
    BEATRICE: She swore
you
were almost dead with love!
    BENEDICK: Not true. So you don’t love me?
    BEATRICE: No. Only as a friend.
    It’s time for Leonato to break it up. ‘Oh, Beatrice, I’m sure you
do
love him.’
    â€˜And he loves her,’ Claudio insists, fishing a piece of paper out of his pocket. ‘Look, he wrote a poem to

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