Monday, August 5, 2013

Review of Chicago Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at Loyola Park

Once upon a time I went to a show, and it was called The Comedy of Errors. It was about two pairs of twins who were separated from their actual brothers in a shipwreck. They were separated into different towns and they looked so much alike that people mistook one for another. When Antipholus of Syracuse (Paul Hurley) went to the same town as the other Antipholus (Andy Lutz), he stayed with his brother's wife Adriana (Lanise Antoine Shelley) because they looked so much alike she couldn't recognize that it wasn't her husband. It is about forgiveness, love, and mistakes. There were problems with it being in the park, like dog walking and a bunch of children playing. But it is great to have Shakespeare in the park because even if you are just walking down the street you can say, "Hey there is Shakespeare going on! I'll go and watch it!" And this is how many dollars you have to pay: zero.

The scene at the beginning where all the actors were trying to figure out what show they were going to do I thought was a little pointless. I thought it was pointless because it wasn't very believable when they said, "Hey, let's do Romeo and Juliet" because it says on the program Comedy of Errors. They wouldn't just put that on the program as a joke and give you another program for Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet. I thought it would be better if they just started the play so people wouldn't have to rush home afterwards to bed. Also they could have put on more of the actual Comedy of Errors. It also felt practiced not improvised. I mean that it didn't seem like they were really trying to make these decisions.

There was also some improvising that really worked. Like when one time Dromio of Syracuse (Samuel Taylor) got some nunchucks from a kid in the audience and used them on the Courtesan (Yadira Correa) and he does like a slow-motion ninja thing. I thought that was really funny and great. But not everybody who goes to see Comedy of Errors will get to see that, because there was a kid in the audience who was behaving very rudely but Dromio was able to just work him into the show.

In this version of Comedy of Errors there was acrobatics. I thought it was cool when just to change the set they would make it a circus act. Sometimes they would bring out a chair and get on their head, and then they would flip the chair over when they flipped. When the waiters (Wesley Daniel, Jacob Grubb and P. Tucker Worley) came out to set the table they did juggling sets where someone would throw out plates and bowls and spoons and stuff. I didn't really like it very much when one of the waiters kept saying "Ciao!" The third time was too much, even though there is that rule about comedy about three times and then it gets boring. It only took two times for it to really get old. They also used gymnastics in the chase scene. For example they would do somersaults or backflips and stuff like that to get to a guy. I thought it made it more exciting. It didn't seem more realistic; it was just really cool.

I thought it was funny when Dromio of Syracuse was talking to his master Antipholus about Luce (Jeffrey Baumgartner), the woman who was really the other Dromio's (J├╝rgen Hooper's) girlfriend. He said that she was like a big globe and his master asks, "Where's Ireland on her?" and he said, "It is on her buttocks." I liked that even though it was a horrible thing to say to an actual woman, it was funny to the viewer. You kind of felt the same way. Her outfit made her look very strange. This character was actually played by a man. It makes you not feel so bad because it is not an actual woman and it wasn't even his body--it was a big suit.

I think I liked the Syracuse brother better than the one from Ephesus because he didn't just go and say, "I'm going to have dinner with a prostitute just because my wife locked me out of the house by accident." He basically does something like that every day because he is drunk most of the time. You know that because he is hanging out with all his friends, and they are all drunk, and they seem like they've done this before. I thought you could forgive the Syracuse brother more because he was very nice to ladies and he doesn't know who these people are. He just thinks she is a lady who thinks he is cute; he doesn't know that she is married.

People who would like this show are people who like circus acts, funny mistakes, and men dressed like ladies screaming "Dro-o-omio!" I think this show should be for people who can listen carefully. I know that you are at a park, but you are still watching a play!

Photos: Chuck Osgood

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