Shakespeare in South Park’s sixth season features The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s shortest play and his script closest to pure slapstick. Once again, the company is proud to feature a cast half comprised of South Park residents and a crew drawn almost entirely from the neighborhood. Co-Producers Galen Wilson and Phyllis Tonne believe it may be the only neighborhood-based Shakespeare company in America.
Story line: Two pairs of identical twins—masters and servants—separated in infancy by a shipwreck, grow up in ancient Greece’s feuding towns of Ephesus and Syracuse. Thirty years later, the Syracusian pair comes to Ephesus on business and is immediately mistaken by townspeople for their local twins. The visiting master and servant part in pursuit of separate errands and thus begins a day of fast-paced mixed-ups where business deals and marriages are turned on end as one twin is blamed for what other said or did, and vice-versa. Times two.
Director Susan Robert emphasizes the subplot of rival towns by bringing Ephesus out of ancient Greece and setting it in present-day Columbus, Ohio, on the day the Ohio State football team goes up against its legendary rival. Of course the visitors from Syracuse arrive in town wearing maize and blue. Audience is encouraged to participate in cheering for the home team and jeering the foe as led by characters on stage.
William Shakespeare based The Comedy of Errors on the ancient Greek play Menechmi by Plautus. Plautus had but one pair of twins and filled out his cast with two-dimensional stock characters. Shakespeare added a second set of twins, an aged parent searching for his lost children (a theme picked up in the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), business people determined not to be cheated, and a quack doctor. Other Shakespeare additions include tangles when a woman mistakes her husband’s twin for the man she married, while that twin attempts to woo her sister, who concludes her brother-in-law is trying to seduce her.
Show: The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Director: Susan Robert
Producers: Galen Wilson, Phyllis Tonne
How To Go:
Dates: Friday-Sunday, September 5, 6, 7, 2014
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Location: South Park Green, 601 Hickory Street, Dayton
Admission: Free (donations gratefully received)
Bring a lawn chair or blanket