Gary and I began yesterday with an early morning trip to Hagerman to hear the singing of birds and observe the dancing of herons and egrets. We ended the day by enjoying the singing and dancing of a talented group of young people who presented a very creative version of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors”. In case it has been a few years since you were required by a zealous English teacher to read Shakespeare, here is a brief Wikipedia synopsis of the play:
The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholous of Ephesus, and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.
I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to Shakespeare, so I must admit I was a bit skeptical when we sat down and I observed that the set included a saloon and a whorehouse. But I once worked behind the scenes in the theater department where I developed an understanding of the concept of “creative adaptation”, and we have been to other plays which were bold departures from the author’s original intent. So I was willing to accept the idea of “The Comedy of Errors” as a song and dance western. It took me about ten minutes to accept the premise, clearly understand each actor, and become involved in the action. After that it was quite enjoyable! And I must say that the post-intermission review of the previous events was a brilliant idea, hysterically executed.
I have to backtrack a bit to say that the college was wise to invest in designing another theater space on the campus. I would just imagine that it gives the set people much more flexibility during the festival, and perhaps would even make scheduling of events easier during the busy school year. The new space is small and intimate, which suits some plays quite well. Last night’s performance was easy to see and hear, and there were several times when there was even a bit of “audience participation”- something difficult to achieve successfully in a bigger space.
There was a good crowd for last night’s performance. The tickets were probably a bit pricey for our area (we are spoiled by cheap entertainment), so I was pleased to see that there were only a few empty seats. All in all, a great day, and a very entertaining evening!