Raucous and rollicking: The Comedy of Errors at the Folger

February 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm (Local interest (Baltimore-Washington), Shakespeare)

Darius Pierce as Dromio of Ephesus and Bruce Nelson as Antipholus of Ephesus

By the time we got to the Folger yesterday afternoon, word was already out: this production of The Comedy of Errors was smashing! And so it proved to be.

The set-up is this: two sets of identical – and identically named! – twins race around the  city of Ephesus sowing discord and confusion. Cases of mistaken identity pile up exponentially. I wouldn’t dream of trying to provide a more detailed plot summary; it all whipped past us so deftly and so swiftly.

The comedy was physical without being slapstick. Darius Pierce, pictured above, was an especial joy to watch. The set was beautiful and at the same time cunningly designed. The Dromio twins kept getting wedged in the too-small doorways. The learning curve was nil!

Comedy of Errors is very early Shakespeare. The date of the first performance is usually given as 1592 or 1593. Could those who were there possibly have had any idea of  the unparalleled brilliance that the author of this frothy confection would soon reveal to the world? One wonders….A mere two (or three?) years later, Romeo and Juliet had its premiere. (And wouldn’t you know it, the line “Dromio, Dromio, wherefore art thou, Dromio” magically found its way into this madcap production!)

The Folger has an outstanding study guide on its site. I highly recommend having a look at it if you’re planning to see The Comedy of Errors. Good luck getting tickets, though – our matinee was completely sold out.

Here’s a quick run-though of the plot, courtesy of cast members:

Here’s the trailer:

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