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THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

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rector Danny Scheie's uproarious staging of Shakespeare's lighthearted classic is a zany cross between a Marx Brothers film, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in, and an evening at La Cage Aux Folles. Scheie has presented his inspired, freewheeling interpretation, conceived in 1988, in such cities as Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and Seattle. Preserving the integrity of Shakespeare's 1594 play while freshening it up with latter-day comic conventions, Scheie's production is ideal for those who shy away from classic theatre fearing it will be stodgy and archaic. We've seldom seen such let-down-your-hair lunacy on A Noise Within's stage, and it's a welcome treat. This granddaddy of mistaken-identity farces originated with the ancient Plautine Roman comedy The Menaechmi, was resurrected in the 1930s as the Rodgers and Hart musical The Boys From Syracuse, and serves as inspiration for countless sitcom plots. In Scheie's take on Shakespeare's text, nine actors share 19 roles, with several cast against gender. With costume designer Alex Jaeger outfitting the Antipholus twins (both played by Donald Sage Mackay) in vaudevillian-style straw hats and the twin Dromio slaves (both played by Louis Lortorto) in bellhop uniforms, the action seems vaguely set in a 1930s milieu. Rick Ortenblad's cleverly conceived unit set looks like a wooden packing crate and is equipped with slapstick-friendly doors and sliding panels used to ingenious advantage as the actors playing the twins pop in and out of the action to segue between characters. The Syracuse twins sound Brooklynese, while their Ephesus counterparts speak in Southern drawls. Background music ranges from Bizet's Carmen to The Sound of Music to suit various scenes and characters. Christopher Ervin Moore is that dashing man on accordion who periodically is pulled into the action to read small parts in monotone from a script (as if subbing for an actor who didn't show up).Under Scheie's breakneck direction, the Noise Within repertory players chew the minimal scenery with unbridled glee. Mackay and Lotorto shift back and forth between their characters without a hitch, displaying dexterity with the verbal and physical comedy requirements of Scheie's broad approach. Ever-impressive Deborah Strang delights as the long-bearded family patriarch, Egeon, with projector in tow, hilariously relating the story's exposition with a clever slide show. She proves equally funny in two additional roles. Richard Soto's finest characterization is as a strapping courtesan, decked out in leather mini-skirt and Afro wig. Jay Bell delights as a giggly goldsmith with Elmer Fudd diction, among other characters. Apollo Dukaikas has his best moments as the cloistered matriarch-Mother Superior by way of Dom DeLuise. Anna C. Miller elicits raucous laughter as Adriana, the shrewish, Rosie O'Donnell-esque wife of the Ephesus Antipholous. She is well complemented by Hisa Takakuwa's breezy portrayal of her ditsy sister. There's nothing erroneous about the gleeful comedy supplied by Scheie and the spirited Noise Within farceurs."The Comedy of Errors," presented by and at Director Danny Scheie's uproarious staging of Shakespeare's lighthearted classic is a zany cross between a Marx Brothers film, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in, and an evening at La Cage Aux Folles. Scheie has presented his inspired, freewheeling interpretation, conceived in 1988, in such cities as Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and Seattle. Preserving the integrity of Shakespeare's 1594 play while freshening it up with latter-day comic conventions, Scheie's production is ideal for those who shy away from classic theatre fearing it will be stodgy and archaic. We've seldom seen such let-down-your-hair lunacy on A Noise Within's stage, and it's a welcome treat. This granddaddy of mistaken-identity farces originated with the ancient Plautine Roman comedy The Menaechmi, was resurrected in the 1930s as the Rodgers and Hart musical The Boys From Syracuse, and serves as inspiration for countless sitcom plots. In Scheie's take on Shakespeare's text, nine actors share 19 roles, with several cast against gender. With costume designer Alex Jaeger outfitting the Antipholus twins (both played by Donald Sage Mackay) in vaudevillian-style straw hats and the twin Dromio slaves (both played by Louis Lortorto) in bellhop uniforms, the action seems vaguely set in a 1930s milieu. Rick Ortenblad's cleverly conceived unit set looks like a wooden packing crate and is equipped with slapstick-friendly doors and sliding panels used to ingenious advantage as the actors playing the twins pop in and out of the action to segue between characters. The Syracuse twins sound Brooklynese, while their Ephesus counterparts speak in Southern drawls. Background music ranges from Bizet's Carmen to The Sound of Music to suit various scenes and characters. Christopher Ervin Moore is that dashing man on accordion who periodically is pulled into the action to read small parts in monotone from a script (as if subbing for an actor who didn't show up).Under Scheie's breakneck direction, the Noise Within repertory players chew the minimal scenery with unbridled glee. Mackay and Lotorto shift back and forth between their characters without a hitch, displaying dexterity with the verbal and physical comedy requirements of Scheie's broad approach. Ever-impressive Deborah Strang delights as the long-bearded family patriarch, Egeon, with projector in tow, hilariously relating the story's exposition with a clever slide show. She proves equally funny in two additional roles. Richard Soto's finest characterization is as a strapping courtesan, decked out in leather mini-skirt and Afro wig. Jay Bell delights as a giggly goldsmith with Elmer Fudd diction, among other characters. Apollo Dukaikas has his best moments as the cloistered matriarch-Mother Superior by way of Dom DeLuise. Anna C. Miller elicits raucous laughter as Adriana, the shrewish, Rosie O'Donnell-esque wife of the Ephesus Antipholous. She is well complemented by Hisa Takakuwa's breezy portrayal of her ditsy sister. There's nothing erroneous about the gleeful comedy supplied by Scheie and the spirited Noise Within farceur

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