MSDA Fall 2022 Drama: The Comedy of Errors
Friday 11/11 and Saturday 11/12
Doris M. Byrne Performing Arts Center
Tickets coming soon
It is thought that William Shakespeare wrote The Comedy of Errors between 1589-1594. It is based on a play called Menaechmi by Plautus, which would have been a well-known story in Shakespeare’s day. The Comedy of Errors and The Tempest are the only two Shakespeare plays that observe unity of time--the entire plays occurs over 24 hours, and it is definitely Shakespeare’s most slapstick type of comedy. Although most scholars find little depth in The Comedy of Errors, many consider it to be proof that Shakespeare was a master of comedy.
The Comedy of Errors has been adapted many times, one of the most notable being the musical adaptation The Boys From Syracuse. The film Big Business, featuring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, was also an adaptation but with girl twins instead of boys.
In The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare’s shortest play and one of his most farcical comedies, we see the problem that arises when one loses their identity. The story follows two sets of twins, separated at birth: The Antipholuses (of Syracuse and Ephesus) and their servants the Dromios (also of Syracuse and Ephesus). Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse are on a journey to find their long lost brother and mother who were lost in a shipwreck that separated their family. On this particular day, they have ended up in the town of Ephesus where, unbeknownst to them, their twin brothers reside. Chaos ensues when the people of the town continue to confuse the brothers for one another, including (but not limited to) Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, thinking her husband must be mad when he claims to not know who she is; Angelo, a shifty goldsmith, getting an officer to arrest Antipholus of Ephesus when he refuses to pay him for a chain he’s already received; or Luciana, Adriana’s sister, claiming that her sister’s husband confessed his love for her. We see the twins try to navigate through a world that seems to have lost all its wits.