Heartland Actors’ second Shakespeare on the Canal production, Much Ado About Nothing, was performed as part of the 2009 White River State Park Family Arts Series. Directed by Nathan Garrison, the cast included company members Ryan Artzberger, Michael Shelton, Diane Timmerman, Phebe Taylor, Scot Greenwell, Sam Fain, Matthew Roland, Robert Neal, and also featured Kevin Anderson, Bethany Barber, Daniel Boughton, Jamison Kay, Charles Goad, Mark Goetzinger, Chris Hatch, David Mosedale, Paul Wallace, and Frank Shelton. Laura Glover was the lighting designer. Lindsey Lyddan designed the set. Costumes were designed by Kathleen Egan. Shakespeare on the Canal was expanded to two performances over the final weekend of July 2009, and attracted over 2,300 audience members.
For the second year in a row, HART brought free Shakespeare to White River State Park. It was a community event akin to Symphony on the Prairie, with lawn chairs, blankets, picnicking, vendors and pre-show entertainment. Saturday’s audience was massive, and even the periodic rainfall couldn’t disperse them. They cheered on Benedick and Beatrice, played with gusto by Michael Shelton and Diane Timmerman. The entire cast had a clear grasp of the technique needed to bring Shakespeare to life in such a large, open space. Lindsey Lyddan’s beautiful stage blended nicely with the surroundings and was used expertly by director Nathan Garrison, who staged scenes both on and around it. Nuvo Newsweekly
It was heartening to see blankets and chairs and coolers create a patchwork on the terraced hill, knowing this wasn’t for severely truncated or gimmicked-up Shakespeare, but for a just-about-full-length, fairly traditional treatment of the play. I found myself quickly charmed by battling Beatrice and Benedick and the efforts of their cronies to make a love connection between them. The “Othello”-lite plot line of the jealous rift created by Don John to separate swooning lovers Claudio and Hero also was presented with remarkable clarity. I say “remarkable” because, at intermission, I heard a number of people remarking how surprised they were to be understanding—and enjoying—the proceedings. Shakespeare doesn’t seem so hard when you are in the company of professionals. Indiana Business Journal
The evening was cloudy; rain threatened but held off. At one point, though, I looked up and thought I could see the Big Dipper peering out from behind the cloud cover. I could feel myself finally relaxing. There’s just something very special about being in a large group of people outside in the cool freshness of the night, all of us focused on a timeless story impeccably presented. Indytheatrehabit
There was much to make ado about last year, as the audience numbers for The Merchant of Venice exceeded all expectations. The outdoor amphitheater was packed and the festive atmosphere was contagious. Once again, the production gathers some of the best of the best of the Indy theatrical community. Indy.com