Author: Jill Kimball

CU Theatre stages Shakespeare’s farcical ‘Comedy of Errors’

The University of Colorado Boulder’s theatre season continues with “The Comedy of Errors,” a wacky, clever Shakespearean farce. The colorful, lively production, directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Kevin Rich, runs March 14-18 in the intimate Loft Theatre.

One of the Bard’s funniest romps, “The Comedy of Errors” follows two pairs of twins who were separated from their siblings at sea. Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse travel across the Mediterranean to Ephesus, where their identical counterparts live—and a hilarious journey of music, magic and mistaken identities unfolds.

Rich, a Shakespeare expert whose research has explored performance practices in the playwright’s own time, will embrace the original setting of Ephesus, an ancient Greek city in present-day Turkey—but that doesn’t mean audiences should expect staid classical theatre.

“People are going to walk in and feel like they’re on a street corner in Ephesus,” he says. “It’ll be a bustling market setting, with a street musician and vendors.”

In Shakespeare’s time, plays were almost always accompanied by lively music, and Rich wants to embrace that tradition. He’s collaborating with Senior Instructor of Dance Jesse Manno—a talented  performer who specializes in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern instruments—so patrons can expect to hear everything from accordion tunes to folk melodies on the oud, a type of lute.

Another aspect of vintage Shakespeare Rich wants to explore? That special connection actors had with audiences 400 years ago. In Elizabethan times, actors weren’t playing to passive observers in a darkened room—they were breaking the fourth wall, addressing patrons directly and encouraging them to react rowdily.

“These plays were written to be performed and enjoyed, not analyzed,” Rich says. “If you approach Shakespeare from a 20th-century theatre perspective, you lose some of the authenticity. Performing in a black box theatre will allow us opportunities to shake off the formality a little.”

Rich also has a few more tricks up his sleeve—they involve actors playing more than one role, gender-bending and some unexpected sound effects—but he doesn’t want to share details quite yet. Just take his word for it: It’ll be a night of knee-slapping fun.

“When I was younger, I went through a phase where I was like, ‘I just want to do serious plays,’” he says. “Now, I think there’s room for all of it, and I’m ready to create a delightful night at the theatre. I think everyone could use a pick-me-up these days.”

Upcoming CU Theatre events View all events

Shakuntala

Loading
Oct 31-Nov 3, 2019

Shakuntala

An adaptation of the play by Kalidasa
Full price: $16

Originally noted in the classic Indian epic Mahabharata, Jashodhara Sen's and Nolan Carey's adaptation of "Shakuntala" tells the timeless story of des...

Play Therapy

Loading
Nov 7-10, 2019

Play Therapy

A new play by Oliver Gerland

People communicate in surprising ways. After a supervisor tells Bob to seek direction in life, a chance encounter with a single mother and a non-verba...

A Broadway Christmas Carol

Loading
Nov 15-Dec 8, 2019

A Broadway Christmas Carol

A musical created by Kathy Feininger
Full price: $24

What the dickens happened to Scrooge? He sings (show tunes), he dances (time steps and classic Fosse), he turns into a ham (and we’re not talkin...

The Popular Mechanicals

Loading
Feb 13-16, 2020

The Popular Mechanicals

A play by Robinson, Taylor and Shakespeare
Full price: $16

Shakespeare’s greatest clowns—the popular mechanicals from "A Midsummer Night’s Dream"—take center stage in a riotously funny ...

The Language Archive

Loading
Feb 27-Mar 1, 2020

The Language Archive

A play by Julia Cho
Free tickets available starting Jan. 27, 2020.

George is a linguist whose life's work is dedicated to preserving nearly lost languages, but his passion has complicated his relationships with Mary, ...