By Mark Thornton Burnett (auth.)

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Narrative discourse in any significant way . . only a systematic rethinking of the entire terms of narrative logic ... may allow the feminine to express itself more forcefully'. 46 Anxious about how Shakespeare might be reinvented and concerned to articulate the category of 'woman' as cinematically relevant, Hoffman utilizes Branagh's example, also subscribing to that director's 'erasure of gender conflicts' which accompany Much Ado About Nothing's nostalgic, if not always straightforward, concluding recuperative gesturesY Initially at least, women's agency is affirmed in the communal expression of celebration - culled from Robert Wise's The Sound uf Music (1965) -with which Much Ado About Nothing concludes.

In this sense, the ways in which Shakespeare and theatre are figured in film, and the resonances that cluster around their partnership, stand as testimony to what Fredric Jameson has termed the 'incompleteness of the postmodern process, the survival within it of remnants of the past, which have not yet, as in some unimaginable fully realized postmodernism, been dissolved without a trace' Y To imply that the Shakespeare film presents theatre as marked by an unmediated 'pastness' would be a mistake, since In the Bleak Midwinter, Beginner's Luck, Get Over It and Iwlian Dream simultaneously register that theatre has not ceased in its evolution as an artform.

The fact that the production develops around a public fountain suggests baptism, while the reappearance (with money) of Mark's father Scrcellillg the Stage 21 (Toby Salaman) points to a Ceres- or Iris-like divine approval. A similarly supportive figure is jim's wife (Harriet Evans-Lombe), the owner of a house in which the company has been squatting. Her decision not to prosecute establishes her beneficent credentials, but so too does the fact that she resembles the 'woman' for whom Mark has been searching in his 'dreams': the contiguity of the production has allowed the director to meet his muse and helped in the process of his vision being realized.

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