By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant
Nothing gums up the works like a family in turmoil. Egeon of Syracuse (Harry Thornton) is on trial and under a potential death threat from Solinus, Duke of Ephesus (Antonio Jeffries). Residents of Syracuse are not allowed to travel to Ephesus. Egeon has traveled to Ephesus to search for one of his son’s and his wife, both separated from him and his other son following a shipwreck. Once grown the son that grew up with Egeon, Antipholus of Syracuse (Scott Kennedy) ventures on a journey with his slave, Dromio of Syracuse (Jasjit Williams-Singh) to attempt to find his missing identical twin.
Antipholus of Syracuse is not aware that his brother, Antipholus of Ephesus has been living in Ephesus for some time, along with his slave, Dromio of Ephesus (Sam O’Byrne).
Side Note: Both Dromios are also identical twins.
Imagine what happens when Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse traverse through this new city. People approach them thinking they are Antipholus of Ephesus and Dromio of Ephesus. Antipholus of Ephesus’s wife, Adriana (Lily Ganser) also makes that mistake, cajoling Antipholus of Syracuse into her home, advising her servants to make sure the door is locked.
Another Side Note: The locked door becomes a humorous prop as the real Antipholus of Ephesus tries unsuccessfully to undo several locks that never fail to stop his entrance into his own home.
Adriana’s unmarried sister, Luciana (Roma Scarano) gets caught up in the intrigue when Antipholus of Syracuse asks Luciana to marry him. Luciana is appalled because, God forbid, that’s her brother-in-law (or so she thinks).
The intrigues and misunderstandings among the characters are eventually resolved.
And when we finally meet the Abbess (Carmen Flood) her true identify surprises them all.
This is not a deep, thought-provoking play (even though one of the characters is sentenced to death). It is a play that relies on mistaken identities, miscues, misunderstandings and miscalculations as comedic devices. But it’s also a play that has the underlying theme of the importance of family.
As one of William Shakespeare’s earliest works, “A Comedy of Errors” has been around for over 400 years and probably produced hundreds of times but each production brings its own flavor to this play.
Director Don Wadsworth does a superb job with a superb cast.
Williams-Singh and O’Byrne are a dynamic duo as the Dromeo twins. Their gymnastics and slapstick compliment their vocal performances.
Kennedy and Harrison as the Antipholus brothers are both serious and humorous.
Ganser is spot-on and her physical gyrations are especially effective considering she has to maneuver in a full-skirted dress.
This production relies heavily on Movement Coach Ralph Hall.
The cast benefits from the costume designs of Stefan Romero.
“A Comedy of Errors” is a production of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. It runs from April 18 – 27, 2019 at the Philip Chosky Theater, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.For more information, click here.