Thursday, July 28, 2011


Longtime local theatergoers may remember Danny Scheie's original staging of The Comedy of Errors as possibly the single funniest production ever mounted at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Premiered in the 1988 season and encored in 1993, it made full use of the outdoor Festival Glen, including a bicycle-built-for-four that came roaring down the hillside, and a massive upstage wall with Laugh-In style open-and-shut windows that turned Shakespeare's frolicsome early comedy about two sets of twins, mistaken identities, and male-female relations into a literal slamming-door farce.

In celebration of SSC's 30th Anniversary season, Scheie returns with a lively reboot of The Comedy of Errors. Although scaled back for the indoor Mainstage with John Iacovelli's single, functional wall and a couple of chairs for a set, and eight intrepid performers handling some 20 speaking parts, this Comedy retains all of the laughs. Indeed, the smaller venue adds a whole extra layer of laughs when we can see all the actors' facial expressions, while giving Scheie the chance to further hone his brilliant idea of a somewhat seedy troupe of traveling players putting on a show for "the rubes."

Terrific SSC stalwarts Mike Ryan and Brad DePlanche play dual roles as two sets of twins—the traveler, Antipholus of Syracuse, and his manservant, Dromio, who wreak havoc in Ephesus when they're mistaken for their local counterparts, twin brothers from whom both were separated in infancy. (Read more)

(Above: Jonathan Shue, Mike Ryan and Brad DePlanche. Photo by rr jones.)

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