Whoa! I just flew home from rehearsal for The Comedy of Errors and boy are my arms tired! Sorry that's an old joke, but it appears (sort of) in the irreverent adaptation by Sean Graney that we are doing for this year's massive Shakespeare in the Park production. With us being just sixteen days from opening, things are moving along nicely with the cast.
For this adaptation of one of Shakespeare's funniest comedies, there are only seven actors playing the almost twenty roles in the play. I think audiences will enjoy how some of the language in the play has been made more accessible and hopefully they'll marvel at some of the lightning fast costume changes we have to make. As we are only about two weeks away from our opening at the park on July 12th, cast members have been fine tuning the variety of characters they are playing. This week we got "off book" and with the scripts out of our hands, many of us are playing a lot with our physical characteristics and movement on stage.
I am playing the role of the Antipholus twins opposite Braden Cleary who is playing both of the Dromio twins. Antipholus is the master and Dromio is the servant. For Braden and I this has been a process of establishing how the twins from Syracus are different from the twins in Ephesus. With these twins the characterizations have to be more subtle because in the play they are constantly being mistaken for one another.
For me, Antipholus of Syracuse is definately the nicer of the two that I play. He has much more of a friendship with his Dromio. The two from Syracuse are a little bit like con men. They constantly joke around with each and conspire on plans or pranks together. It's been really fun playing this relationship opposite Braden. We have a lot of physical comedy and it's been really cool that the rest of the cast and crew applauds us when we get those moments just right.
Antipholus of Ephesus, on the other hand, is a bit meaner; he has a short fuse. He can be harsh toward his Dromio and has a reputation as a womanizer. It's been fun playing him when he's getting his just deserts or can't control his situation.
In rehearsal, making these discoveries has been a hilarious process that I think will be really entertaining on stage. Of course, there are also several moments in the show, right now, where it's incredibly hard not to laugh at what the other actors are doing with some of their characters. It's truly awesome that we have a director like Lisa FP and a versatile cast that are willing to let go, experiment and, most importantly, play. I think audiences are going to have as much fun watching The Comedy of Errors as we are making it.
-Eric Brant, Actor