“It’s usually set in a different era,” she said of the Shakespeare comedy, “but I put it in the 1940s and at the beach. I wanted my actors to be comfortable.”
The cast has been practicing inside the two California Arts Academy buildings in Fresno, but when the crew takes the show to the festival stage at Woodward Park this week, she knows things could heat up.
Session said the era change was her concept and she is making sure the actors don’t overheat by wearing heavy costumes. “We make sure they aren’t doing excessive work they shouldn’t be doing,” she said.
But since the showings begin at 8 p.m., Session isn’t too worried. “Once the sun goes down, it starts to cool off more and it’s a lot easier.”
It’s Session’s first time directing at the Woodward Shakespeare Festival, but the Fresno State alum has directed plays at Fresno City, Fresno State and twice in the community.
The festival is in its 14th season, and wrapped up another play a few weeks before “Much Ado” begins.
James Anderson, who plays Claudio, has been practicing all summer in the festival. He was also in “Othello,” which ended its run on July 7.
The 23-year-old said the cast makes sure they stay hydrated and someone brings a case of water.
In addition, Session’s wardrobe concept seems to work. “Our costumes are fairly summer ready,” he said, “a lot of shorts, a lot of bathing suits, not many layers.”
Anderson says finding shade and catching a breeze on stage “makes the biggest difference.”
Session and Anderson said “Much Ado” is a great comedy to wrap up the summer.
“I’m excited to see audience members and to have them enjoy the show,” Sessions said. “It’s going to be loads of fun.”
‘Much Ado About Nothing’
- Thursdays-Saturdays Aug. 2-25, 8 p.m. nightly
- Woodward Park Festival Stage
- Free admission, $5 car entrance fee
Six other noteworthy events happening this week:
- Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7. Save Mart Center, 2650 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno. $39.50- $125. www.ticketmaster.com
- Danceworksdj Big Band Sounds 1 p.m. Aug. 5. The Grand 1401, 1401 Fulton St., Fresno. $15-$20 559-801-6308, www.bigbanddancing.com
- Respite By the River with Richard Sirois and Mai Der Vang 6 p.m. Aug. 7. The Ranch House, San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, 11605 Old Friant Road, Fresno. Free. www.riverparkway.org
- “School of Rock: The Musical” various times, Aug. 5, 9, 10, 11. Selma Arts Center, 1935 High St., Selma. $12-$15. 559-891-2238, www.selmaartscenter.com
- A Celebration of Life: Kurt Cobain 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11. Fulton 55, 875 E. Divisadero Ave., Fresno. $10. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
- Swearin’ 8 p.m. Aug. 10. Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave., Fresno. $14. 559 www.strummersclub.com