|Louis Tucci, Paula Leggett Chase and |
What does “Never on Sunday” (the song and the film) have to do with Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors? Well, not much, one would think. Why would the citizens of
If there’s one drawback to the production it’s that many of the lines are delivered in such a rapid-fire, frenetic manner that you might find yourself saying “Say what?” However, that doesn’t mean you won’t know what’s going on, for the acting is emotive in the extreme (something farce requires) and the body language of all concerned is sufficient to convey meaning when the dialogue sometimes becomes merely a stream of sounds, often in iambic pentameter.
As with previous Stage productions, director Tresnjak is also the scenic designer, and he has given the audience a pastel paradise that seems more Middle-Eastern (
than specifically Greek. In fact, it’s a Disney World environment that embraces
the look and feel of the films mentioned in the program and allows for the
various anachronisms that proliferate. Istanbul
|Jolly Abraham and Tyler Lansing Weaks|
If you refer to Shakespeare’s text, here’s how the play opens:
SCENE I. A hall in DUKE SOLINUS'S palace.(Enter DUKE SOLINUS, AEGEON, Gaoler, Officers, and other Attendants).
AEGEON: Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall / And by the doom of death end woes and all.
Well, that’s not good enough for Tresnjak. Instead, we get a Courtesan (Paula Leggett Chase) enticing the audience with a sultry version of “Never on Sunday,” accompanied by two Musicians (Louis Tucci and Alexander Sovronsky). Then there’s some background exposition that sets out the basic premise: Two twin brothers, along with their twin servants, were separated as children by a storm; one set, Antipholus of Syracuse (Tyler Lansing Weaks) and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse (Alan Schmuckler) end up in, of course, Syracuse, and the other set, also named Antipholus (Ryan-James Hatanaka) and Dromio (Matthew Macca) land in Ephesus. The former set, now adults, arrives in
Ephesus where Aegeon (the two Antipholuses’s – or is it
Antipholi’s – father has been arrested because a Syracuse
merchant ain’t supposed to be in ).
Well, you know what happens. The
duo is mistaken for their Ephesian
twins. Oh, the confusion – consider the possibilities (Shakespeare did). Who is
married to whom? Who owes whom what? To who or to whom, that is the question.
Does it all matter? Not really. In Tresnjak’s hands the basic play is like
pizza dough – it all depends on what you put on top -- and Tresnjak has decided
to use unexpected ingredients. You may not have tasted them before in concert,
but after the initial “Does that go with that?” you realize that it all works
and is altogether pleasing to the play-going palate. Syracuse
|Matthew Macca and Ryan-James Hatanaka|
On opening night the theater was packed, and it probably will be for the show’s run. We all go to the theater for different reasons, and one of them is just to have a hell of a good time, to not brood, despair or ponder but simply to revel in excess, to set aside our political-correctness for a moment and unabashedly laugh at the fat lady’s pratfalls. We may feel a bit guilty in the morning, but what the hell.
The Comedy of Errors runs through February 12. For tickets or more information call 860-527-5151 or go to www.hartfordtsage.org.