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'Comedy of Errors' Hits Mark in Fort Lee Park

The Hudson Shakespeare Company's second performance of its second play of the summer Shakespeare in the Park season was Tuesday at Monument Park.

Written by Arya F. Jenkins with photos by Donna Brennan.

This is the Hudson Shakespeare Company's 21st Season of Traveling Theatre, and The Comedy of Errors, a play by William Shakespeare and directed by Michael Hagins, was surely one of the highlights of our summer season in Fort Lee.

Hagins' version is set in the 1940s, and a talented cast had raucous fun bringing it to life in Tuesday night in what turned out to be a must-see performance.

Let's face it, Shakespeare can often be challenging to understand. The 16th century, when he lived, was a long time ago, and the English language has taken many turns since then. But there is no mistaking the story in this wild farce, which involves healthy doses of slapstick, theft, madness and possession, as a set of twin brothers and their twin slaves, their relations and an entire town try to sort out a case of mistaken identity, or two.

Shakespeare adapted his Comedy of Errors from a classical comedy by the Roman, Plautus, adding the extra pair of twin servants, both of whom are called Dromio, to contribute to the delightful mayhem.

Director Hagins set Shakespeare's play in the 40s, bringing both Shakespeare and the cinema antics of classics--many of which were produced in Fort Lee--to life. 

Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio of Syracuse arrive in Epheseus, which turns out to be where their twin brothers, Antipholus of Epheseus and his servant Dromio of Epheseus, reside. The twins were separated during a shipwreck at birth. But once the confusion begins, the fun starts.

Adriana mistakes Syracusean Antipholus for her husband, and well, you have to be there to see the rest, and it is well worth the free ride.

Park your chair on the lawn and just laugh as you watch the excellent acting and antics of a cast that includes Fort Lee resident, Stacy D'Arc, who plays Angela the Goldsmith, miming, strutting and artfully delivering her lines. Stacy comes from a talented family, her father being the late John D'Arc, a member of The Four Lads, once a popular singing quartet.

She was most recently seen in the Hudson Shakespeare Company's production of To Kill a Mockingbird. Also worth mentioning is the sexy and generously gifted Vanessa Wendt, who plays Adriana and gives fresh meaning to the word zaftig; the flirty courtesan Julie Robles, who never stops vamping; the aggressively talented Michael Reheses, who plays Antipholus of Syracuse, and the incredibly gifted, acrobatic Rich Wisneski, who is Antipholus of Ephesus.

The Shakespeare in the Park summer series is sponsored and organized by the Fort Lee Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs headed by Tom Meyers. 

The last local showing of the play is Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Staib Park in Hackensack. The final performance is July 28 in Stratford, Conn.

Editor's Note: Next up in the continuing "Shakespeare in the Park" series is Hudson Shakespeare's production of the "lost Shakespeare" play, "Cardenio," which will be coming to Monument Park on Tuesday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

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