Thursday, June 27, 2013

A comedy without errors: a review

I was finally able to see Shakespeare in the Park on Tuesday night, after failing the previous Tuesday due to rain. Before offering my opinions on that experience, however, I can't help but comment on the exciting defeat of DOMA and Proposition 8 yesterday. Not absolutely perfect (still waiting on those pesky other 38 states), but a definite step in the right direction! Now onto the play...

My friends and I made to the line before 6, and it seemed a reasonable length. We ended up not getting tickets in the first wave, meaning we had to wait until the show started at 8:30. During our two and a half hours enjoying the hospitality of Central Park, we were accosted both by a very sheepish young man on the Anthony Weiner for Mayor campaign and a baby bird (poor thing flew directly into Sam's head and attacked a number of other line-waiters before a nice woman captured him and tried to release him into a bush). Our wait was worth it though because were some of the last people to get in!

The Public Theater is militant about people not taking photos of the show, so enjoy this photo of flowers Sam got me for our one-month anniversary (isn't he sweet?).
The play was Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare's earliest works and apparently one that is seldom performed, presumably because it's so silly. The plot concerns two sets of twins who are separated as babies due to a shipwreck. One set of twins are a wealthy man's sons and the other set are their slaves. When they both end up in Ephesus (in the production, re-imagined as 1940s Brooklyn) where one of the men has a wife and is a well-respected businessman, hijinks inevitably ensue. The play is indeed very silly and contains more than a few plot holes, but the casting and production was so sharp that it made for a very fun time. 

Apparently, in typical productions the two sets of twins are played by four men total, but in this version with a little clever staging, each set of twins was played by just one man. The two men (Hamish Linklater and Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson playing the rich men and their servants respectively) did an incredible job differentiating their two characters so even without the visual cues and subtle costuming, it was always obvious which twin was onstage. In addition to the wonderful players, the overall feel of the production was very fun. There were an abundance of very talented dancers performing in between scenes and moving around set pieces. Overall, at only 90 minutes long, Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare's shortest plays, but given the level of ridiculousness, it's probably the perfect length. My friends and I all loved it. 

To anyone in the New York area, I highly recommend trying for the virtual line (or going to wait standby if you don't mind the birds) on the last couple of day's of the show's run. In the meantime, I'm already looking forward to Love's Labour's Lost in July and August. Apparently they're doing it as a musical. Very intrigued.

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