Cheyenne Little Theatre Players is putting on William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors over two weekends, November 10-12, 2017, and November 16-19, 2017, for a total of seven performances.
The Comedy of Errors is a fast-moving slap-stick comedy. It’s the shortest play in the Shakespearean canon, and perhaps the funniest.
The CLTP’s production of perhaps Shakespeare’s most popular comedy is rollicking fun.
Many years ago, Emilia, wife of Egeon, a merchant from Syracuse, gave birth to twin sons. As coincidence would have it, in the same inn, a peasant woman gives birth to twin sons, and Egeon bought them to be bondsmen to his two sons. But on the voyage home, the family are caught in a violent storm and separated. Egeon saves his son and bondsman, and Emilia, his wife, saves the other son and bondsman.
Seven years ago, Antipholus of Syracuse has gone in search of his missing brother. Two years later, Egeon goes in search of his son. Ephesus is his last stop before retuning home.
The Duke of Ephesus, sympathetic to Egeon’s plight, gives him 24 hours to raise 1,000 marks – the penalty for a Syracusian being caught in Ephesus.
Meanwhile, as coincidence would have it, Antipholus of Syracuse (who has taken his missing brother’s name as his own in order to honor his brother) and Dromio of Syracuse arrive in Ephesus, where they are immediately confused with Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus. Misunderstanding piles upon misunderstanding leading to a lot of laughter from the audience, but all’s well that ends well at the end.
Jocelyn Peterson has put together a funny cast that complements a funny play. The timing for comedy is all important and the main actors – the two Antipholus, the two Dromio, and Adrianna deliver. The supporting cast, including Carol Serelson as the Duke of Ephesus and Erik Petersen as the Officer, each have at least one moment to shine.
The CLPT’s production has women cast in the male roles – as the Duke, the father Egeon, as one of the Antipholi and as one of the Dromii. Although their costumers give them a male look, their voices give them away. Having said that, they each do an excellent job with their roles.
Casting two sets of twins can be difficult, and in some productions the audience is expected to suspend their disbelief – which it’s perfectly okay to do in a comedy! In this instance, Dromio of Syracuse is a foot taller, and a foot wider, than Dromio of Ephesus. The two Dromio made a joke of this height difference a couple of times during the play – getting a big laugh each time.
The height difference between Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus is slightly less marked, but the Ephesusean’s beard needed a bit more shaping to match that of the Syracusean. Apart from that, each actor played their role – Adrianna True as Antipholus of Ephesus delivered the mounting frustration of a man locked out of his own house, and accused of being given a chain that he never received, and also teamed with Erik Petersen as the Officer to deliver a laugh. The tall Petersen holds up the enraged Antipholus, while the actress kicks her legs three times in an effort to get free. You have to see it to understand the ‘business’ and see how funny it is.
Carol Sereson as the Duke, with her face obscured behind a beard, gives a few sidelong glances with her eyes when being harangued by a commoner that bring a smile.
Caitlin Harper as Adrianna, the by turns bewildered and vituperative wife of Antipholus has a good pair of lungs, and really delivers the humor in her role.
The set is sparse – with a couple of set-pieces in niches on either side for the home of Antipholus of Syracuse and the throne room of the Duke – but elaborate sets aren’t needed for this production.
The two Antipholi and the two Dromii dress the same, with the appropriate Anthipholus and Dromio wearing the same color hat to help the audience keep the two sets of twins straight.
Shakespeare’s language is not all that difficult to understand. The audience might not understand every single word but the intent is clear, and the slapstick comedy rises above any problems one might have with the language.
A fun show – the CLTP has done Shakespeare proud.
The Cast and Crew
- Ezekiel Lopez – Antipholus of Syracuse
- Annabelle Xanthos – Dromio of Syracuse
- Adrianna True – Antipholus of Ephesus
- Brad A. Goodman – Dromio of Epheseus
- Caitlin Harper – Adrianna (wife of Antipholus of Ephesus)
- Kiersten Cussins – Lucianna (sister of Adrianna)
- Cindy Schmid – Egeon (father of Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus)
- Carol Serelson – Duke Solinus (of Ephesus)
- Judy Schultz – Abbess of Priory
- Jim Harper – Angelo/1st Merchant
- Elizabeth Harrell – Courtezan
- Erik Petersen – Balthazar / Officer
- Alan Ashley – Dr. Pinch/ Townsperson/ Young Egeon
- Lois Hansen – Luce / Townsperson
- Brigid Nelson – Servant / Townsperson
- Cassidy Gaskins / Townsperson / Young Emilia (wife of Aegeon)
- Director – Jocelyn Petersen
- Assistant Director – Erin Kendall
- Stage Manager – Amy Bale
- Set Design – Jocelyn Petersen
- Costume Design – Pat Lauber
- Seamstresses – Connie Skoetsch, Karen Jensen, Ida Mae Apostolou
- Hair & Makeup – Philip Armstrong
- Lighting Design – Justin Batson
- Sound Design – Karis Rowley
- Master Carpenter – Maria Thompson
- Carpenters – Bob the Builder, Craig Schulz, Matt Hockersmith
- Prop Masters – Mary Hall & Cathie Chadwick
- Light Operator – Brenda McMillan
- Sound Operator – Keefe Van Dyke
- Stage Crew – Cassidy Gaskins, Kelly Lynn Gaskins, Craig Schulz
The CLTP and Shakespeare
The Cheyenne Little Theatre players first tacked Shakespeare in their 1979-1980 season, with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They’ve performed this comedy twice more, in the 2005-2006 season and the 2015-2016 season.
For their 1982-83 season, they performed The Merry Wives of Windsor. In their 1990-91 season, they did The Taming of the Shrew, and for their 1996-97 season, Twelfth Nigh