Hudson Shakespeare Returns to Monument Park With ‘Comedy of Errors’
Shakespeare in the Park continues in Fort Lee next week with the second of three plays this summer starting at 7:30 p.m. on July 17 and 24.
The company will put on two performances of “Comedy of Errors,” one on Tuesday, July 17 and another on Tuesday, July 24, taking the “absurd farce” from its traditional ancient Greek setting to 1940s-era New York with “a Looney Tunes edge,” according to Hudson Shakespeare.
“The show's over-the-top and frenetic comic pace lends itself to a cartoon-like setting,” said director Michael Hagins. “Chase scenes, exaggerated physical comedy and pies-in-the-face action pepper the play.”
According to the Hudson Shakespeare Company, the plot of “Comedy of Errors” is as follows:
The cities of Ephesus and Syracuse are at odds. Any Syracusan found in Ephesus will be executed unless he can pay a ransom of a thousand marks.
Egeon, an old Syracusan merchant, has been arrested. He explains how he has come to Ephesus: he and his wife Emilia had identical twin sons and identical twin servants.
In a shipwreck many years ago, he was separated from his wife, one son and one servant. The survivors are renamed in memory of the lost ones: Antipholus for the son and Dromio for the servant.
Once grown to manhood, Antipholus of Syracuse, with his Dromio, had set off in search of his brother and mother. Egeon is now in search of them. The Duke gives him until evening to find the ransom money.
By chance, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse have also just arrived in Ephesus. The other Antipholus and Dromio have been living there since the wreck. And so the comedy of errors ensues.
The locals constantly mistake the visiting twins for the natives – even Antipholus of Ephesus' wife Adriana and her sister Luciana are fooled. The confusions result in Antipholus of Ephesus being arrested for debt and declared mad, while Antipholus of Syracuse take refuge from his brother's angry wife in a Priory – where the abbess turns out to be Egeon's long-lost wife. All is resolved and Egeon is freed.
“Comedy of Errors” was written in the early 1590s, according to the company, “possibly for indoor, private showings,” and is a reworking of a Roman play called “I Menaechmi,” which was written by the comedy writer Plautus.
After the two July performances of “Comedy of Errors,” Hudson Shakespeare will return to Monument Park next month for two performances of their final show of the summer, which the company describes as Shakespeare’s “lost” play, “Cardenio."
Shakespeare in the Park performances, for which admission is free, take place in Monument Park starting at 7:30 p.m. Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs.