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The Mass Media

UMB’s Take on a Shakespearian Classic: “Comedy of Errors”

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The cast of “Comedy of Errors”

The University of Massachusetts Boston’s Department of Performing Arts presents its mainstage production the “Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare. The play is directed by Daniel Gidron, a senior lecturer II in Theatre Arts here at UMass Boston. He is also a member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. The “Comedy of Errors” will have more performances in the University Hall’s black box theatre continuing April 12-14. It features a cast of 15 UMass Boston students with costumes by Rafael Jaen.
This production was an excellent rendition of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors.” It is also one of Shakespeare’s earliest and shortest plays. Even though it is one of his shortest plays, it was not short of humor. “Comedy of Errors” begins with Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse who is arrested and condemned to death in Ephesus for breaking a law; a law that prohibits travel between Syracuse and Ephesus, two rival cities. He is then given a day to find the money to pay for his freedom. If he fails to come up with this money, he will be executed. As his execution draws near, he pleads with the Ephesian Duke, Solinus, that he’s in Syracuse to look for his wife and one of his sons whom he was separated from 25 years ago in a shipwreck.
The other twin grew up with Egeon but he is also searching for his brother and mother in Ephesus. Solinus feels sympathy towards Egeon and gives him a day to secure the money. It is here that the play gets even more interesting. Both Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus and their servants who are also twins; Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus go about the town creating confusion for the town’s people.
Antipholus the missing twin, also known as Antipholus of Ephesus, is a well-known and prosperous citizen of the city. His wife Adriana mistakes Antipholus of Syracuse for her husband and brings him home to dine with her. Dromio of Syracuse is left to guard the door, giving entry to no one. Soon after, Antipholus of Ephesus arrives with his servant and is barred entry from his home. Antipholus of Syracuse was stunned that this woman, Adriana thinks he is her husband. He did not have the slightest of affection for her but fell for Adriana’s sister. When Lucianna, Adriana’s sister confronts him for mistreating her sister, he admits to her that he has feelings for her. Lucianna is appalled with her supposed brother-in-law’s confession.
The confusion in the play is then intensified when a gold chain for Antipholus is given to Antipholus of Syracuse. Antipholus of Ephesus refuses to pay for the gold chain because he did not receive it and is arrested. His wife, after hearing all the mischief he’s been in, thinks he went insane. Antipholus of Syracuse and his slave, being wrongfully accused, decide to flee Ephesus but are caught by Adriana and an officer. Confusion erupts because of the mistaken identities and he seeks refuge in an abbey close by.
When the Duke arrives at the scene to execute Egeon, Adriana pleads with him to get her husband from the abbey. Before he is able to do so, her real husband shows up. This creates even more confusion. The confusion is neutralized when the abbess brings out the other twin and reveals that she is their mother and Egeon’s long-lost wife. Antipholus of Ephesus reconciles with Adriana, Egeon is excused and reunites with the Abess and Antipholus of Syracuse resumes his romantic quests with Lucianna.
The “Comedy of Errors” is a wonderful student production. It is the second production in the new University Hall theatre. This production sets the stage for the upcoming events by the Department of Performing Arts. These include the following: Jazz Night, the Spring Orchestra, Faculty Concert Series, the 2017 Spring Dance Concert and others.
For more information and tickets, you can visit www.umb.edu/performingarts