04 March 2013

The Comedy of Errors

The Comedy of Errors. Two sets of twins, a shipwreck, men of a quiet town visiting a crazy city, and chaos ensues.

The story's background is that once upon a time, there was a family on board a ship. They had twin sons. They also bought a pair of twins as slaves for their sons (it's ancient Greece, so that was considered normal). Then they were shipwrecked, the families divided, and the twins separated from each other, each half of the family believing the other half was dead. The twins were named by each parent left to them, who happened to choose the same names. So now we have two sets of twins: two named Antipholus, who were the sons of the family, and two named Dromio, who were the slaves. They grow up and each Dromio serves each Antipholus. Then one day, the Antipholus and Dromio who reside in Syracuse with the father of the family come to Ephesus, where the other Antipholus and Dromio live, with the mother of the family. It takes most of the play for them to sort out the problems caused by having two of the same man running around town, especially when the Antipholus from Syracuse falls in love with his brother's sister-in-law.

It's an insane play, really. When I saw it performed at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival back in 2004, I nearly hyperventilated because I was laughing so hard. My favourite characters in the show are the Dromios. The version I saw used the same actor for the Dromio characters, so they naturally looked exactly alike. The guy was brilliant. Every moment he was on-stage, he was completely in character and every single thing he did was funny and felt spontaneous. Good show, good actors, obviously a good director. I came home from Ashland with a marionette dragon from one of the gift shops and I named it Dromio.

Comedy of Errors isn't so serious as our last one, Measure for Measure. It's more a comedy for the sake of comedy. And why not?

Next up: Much Ado About Nothing!

Favourite Quote

"I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop;
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself" Antipholus (of Syracuse), Comedy of Errors, I.2.35-38

A brief note on quotes: Sometimes I find a lot of quotes I enjoy, but other times, I don't really discover ones that speak to me. I'll include at least one quote per play, but some will have more than others.

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