Comedy of Errors


Friday night, Anne and I went to see the Rep’s final production of the season. “The Comedy of Errors” started off as usual Shakespeare fare. There is a setting shift from the 16th century Aegean to the environs of New Orleans, or rather “Nawlins”, but this is not unusual. Modern Shakespeare productions update The Bard this way, all of the time. The time is Mardi Gras, in 1936. In the first act, a few local flourishes sneak-in to provide Cajun acculturation, but his written words are otherwise unadulterated. Intermission, the second act begins and then all hell breaks loose.

“Errors” is supposed to be a farce. It comes equipped with two sets of identical twins. The opportunity for mistaken identity comedy is doubled, doubling our pleasure. The audience is treated to Nawlins music, from a jazz funeral march, to a Gospel revival of “The Saints Come Marching In”. Dr. John’s “Going Back to New Orleans”, and “House of the Rising Sun” are also featured. Who knew that “House” was so funny? In one comic medley, both Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski are channeled, along with Janis Joplin, “Busted flat in New Orleans, …”, Elvis, “You’ll never know, What heaven means, Until you’ve been down to New Orleans”, and many other Nawlins tropes. By the time the play is done we’ve seen just about every Southern theatrical cliché and laughed at them. The show is filled with “Amazing Grace”.

The Rep will go dark now, until next season. As is customary, Steven Woolf, Artistic Director for The Rep, comes out before the last show and announces the next season’s productions. He always closes this speech with an invocation to season subscribers, “If you did not bring your subscription form, you know that we have the duplicate.” We know. We had already re-upped by then.

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