Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

American Players Theatre: The Comedy of Errors

On Sunday, June 21, we drove over to Spring Green to see this season's
production of The Comedy of Errors, which we found excellent. If there
is a better way to spend a long afternoon of the summer solstice than
with a picnic and a Shakespeare comedy, I can't think of it. (Of course,
for real perfection, it could have been Midsummer Night's Dream, but we
were very grateful for what we received--.)

The plot is familiar: As we find out in the first scene, the chronically
unfortunate merchant, Egeon of Syracuse, was separated from his wife,
one of their newborn twin sons, and infant twin servant boy, in a
shipwreck twenty-five years ago. When his remaining son, Antipholus of
Syracuse, grew to manhood, he left home in order to seek out the fate of
his lost brother. The lonely Egeon followed him as far as Ephesus, where
he is taken prisoner and condemned to death as a consequence of recent
hostile relations between Syracuse and Ephesus. Meanwhile, Antipholus of
Syracuse and his man, Dromio, have entered the city with the help of a
friend, disguised as locals so well that they are immediately mistaken
for their twin brothers who actually live in the city. All kinds of
hilarity ensues in this most famous of mistaken-identity comedies.

What APT did with it that made it so particularly good was to update the
sensibility of not so much the play itself to that of a Crosby-Hope
"Road" picture, with all that that implies about slapstick,
wise-cracking delivery, and sometimes frenetic pacing. When Egeon enters
pursued by Ephesian policemen, he is costumed as "Indiana Jones," and
the chase/fight scene of his apprehension sets the tone. At a bit over
two hours including intermission, this was very fast, VERY tightly paced

Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus are played by real-life
brothers Marcus and Andy Truschinski, respectively, who do a good job
with the roles and being at the center of the sometimes almost literal
tornado of action. The real stand-out job of acting, however, was done
by Steve Haggard and Darragh Kennan as the Dromios. These two don't
really look very much alike, but they so overcame that by skillful
matching of posture, mannerisms, and tone of voice (and helped out by
their identical hats) that I had to look closely to tell which one was
on stage when. It wasn't until the end when they are both on stage
together that it even became noticeable that Haggard is significantly
taller than Kennan. The four were very ably supported by Carey Cannon as
the Ephesian's exasperated wife, Susan Shunk as her sister, and the rest
of the company as the officials, merchants, and street people of
Ephesus. (Georgie noted that the women deserved extra points for doing
all the dashing around in '40's style high heels--.)

All in all, this was certainly the funniest and liveliest production of
this play we have seen, and, as always with American Players, well worth
the trip.
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