It’s summer in Munich. And this means, it’s open air theatre season. While the team currently busily and sweatily rehearses, I simply can’t wait to present this hilarious comedy. True, opinions about this comedy are rather split. Some think the play is not one of Shakespeare’s strongest plays, since the characters are not as psychologically developed as they are in the darker, or later comedies. Others argue that the play is written much in the vein of the commedia dell’arte and hence purposefully presents types rather than characters. Whichever position one may hold, I personally think that The Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare’s most hilarious comedies. It’s packed with slapstick, mistaken identities (and all the comical consequences) and witchcraft. Obviously, it also requires a good shipwreck to start the show, and catchy tune to close it. As in the year’s before, we will have a chance for the audience to participate—it wouldn’t be a proper outdoor Shakespeare without some help from the audience. Yes, audience participation. Can’t wait to see this.
Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
— Antipholus of Syracuse, The Comedy of Errors
The Greek towns of Ephesus and Syracuse are at war with each other. One day, Syracusian merchant Ægeon is stranded in Ephesus while searching for his lost son Antipholus. Unfortunately, Ægeon is found out to be from Syracuse and consequently detained by Duke Solinus. When he informs the Duke that he lost both his wife and his identical twin sons, twenty-three years ago in a shipwreck, Duke Solinus begins to pity Ægeon and promises that he will free him if Ægeon manages to raise a ransom of 1,000 marks by 5 o’clock that same day.
At the same time, Antipholus arrives in Ephesus from Syracuse, together with his servant, Dromio. Both quickly disguise their identities to avoid being arrested – and yet, on their exploration of the town, everyone in Ephesus seems to know them by their names. A lady called Adriana, takes Antipholus into her home, even calling him husband; Angelo, a goldsmith, gifts Antipholus with a chain of pure gold; the local Courtezan greets Antipholus as a regular costumer – and Dromio, well, all of a sudden, he finds himself married to a local beauty! Antipholus and Dromio are confused and suspect that some witchcraft has possessed the Ephesians. The confusion increases when a second Antipholus and a second Dromio enter the scene – and are swiftly arrested for alleged misconduct.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for Ægeon – will he find a friend in Ephesus to ransom him? Perhaps someone in the audience can help?
Photos by Tom Hafner
Directed by Conny Loder & John Yates, produced by Ken Lawler & Peter Heinz
Performance dates 7—10, 14—17 & 21—24 July 2022, 19:00
Munich, Theatron, Westpark.