One of William Shakespeare’s most free-wheeling and accessible comedies will debut on the stage of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Martha R. Tatum Theatre Thursday, June 24 for the 34th season of Southern Arena Theatre (SAT).
“The Comedy of Errors” tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Wild confusion results in the town of Syracuse as the twins are mistaken for each other by the townspeople.
Shakespeare uses the irresistible device of confusion of identity to create one hilarious scene after another, which may remind modern audiences of contemporary “straight man/comic man” routines. To support the accessibility of the play, the 2010 SAT production sets “The Comedy of Errors” in an exotic 20th century setting, influenced by the style of early Fellini films.
“Shakespeare wrote this play as pure entertainment, and it pleases audiences today as much as it must have in Elizabethan times,” said Lou Rackoff, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “We chose ‘The Comedy of Errors’ because it promises to offer audiences a madcap escape into a highly theatrical and joyous theatre event.”
The plot is simple: Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio arrive in Ephesus, where it is forbidden for anyone from Syracuse to enter. Unknown to them, their identical and long lost twin brothers are in Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, near seduction, accusations of infidelity, theft and madness.
“We know this will be great summer entertainment and a fitting celebration of the 34 seasons of SAT in our community,” Rackoff said.
SAT is a collaborative effort between both students and faculty of the Southern Miss theatre department. Much like a professional theatre company, both cast and crew work during the summer months to produce a wonderful theatrical production for the campus and local community. Corporate donors for the 2010 season are Raising Cane’s and Moore’s Bike Shop.
Shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. June 24-26, 29-30, July 1-3 and at 2 p.m. June 27 and July 4. Prices are as follows: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, faculty, staff and military and $6 for students. All performances will be at the Martha R. Tatum Theatre in the Theatre and Dance Building on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus. For more information, contact the Southern Miss Department of Theatre and Dance at 601.266.4994.