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Artist Statement Joseph White To begin, Chance and I worked together to create a piece that reflects the character of Don John. This was done by splitting a piece of paper in two and each working on half the face. Don John was rejected from society for being an illegitimate son, and behaving worse. Though he was wrong in his actions, he just wanted to be acknowledged by society, whether or not he had to be the bad guy in order to be important. He was very aware of the evil of his choice: “I cannot hide what I am. I must be sad/when I have cause, and smile at no man’s jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man’s leisure; sleep when I am/ drowsy, and tend on no man’s business.” ( from Much Ado About Nothing 1.3)

Artist Statement Chance Askew Joseph and I collaborated on this project, with Joseph working on the left side illustration, and I on the right. We chose to split the paper down the middle and use mixed media and different styles to represent Don John’s double-sided nature. Because Don John is played by Keanu Reeves in Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, we modeled our interpretation on two other performances by Keanu Reeves: Neo from The Matrix and John Wick from John Wick.

“The Two Faces of Much Ado About Nothing’s Don John” “I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain.” Don John in Much Ado About Nothing

by Chance Askew & Joseph White, Class of 2022 Shakespeare mixes characters who are human and redeemable with those whose sin nature is so fully developed, that they do not repent., Much Ado About Nothing’s Don John is one such sinner...

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