“At the time, it must have been the best situation comedy ever written,” director David Frank says about the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance upcoming Studio Series play, “The Comedy of Errors,” by William Shakespeare.
Opening Thursday, March 19, “The Comedy of Errors” is a timeless story of two sets of identical twins accidentally separated at birth.
The story follows Antipholus and his servant Dromio from Syracuse when they arrive in Ephesus, which unbeknownst to them happens to be where their twin brothers, Antipholus and his servant Dromio, live.
When family and friends encounter the two different sets of twins at different times and in various situations, it leads to wrongful accusations, almost improper seductions and a lot of humorous confusion.
As guest director for the production, Frank comes to the school with a great deal of professional experience with Shakespeare plays. He was the producing artistic director for the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis., for 23 years.
Frank said he finds it amazing how ahead of his time and ingenious Shakespeare must have been to have written this comedy. Even more impressive is that the play is one of his earliest works.
And how does this Shakespeare play engage NIU student performers and production staff? “Youthful Shakespeare goes well with youthful talent,” Frank said.
He also believes a discussion as to how relevant any Shakespeare play is to modern audiences is beside the point.
Although “The Comedy of Errors” is bound to provide an abundance of laughter, Frank said it is not just fun and games.
“What you think of first and foremost is this crazy comedy,” Frank said, “but there are sudden, magnificent passages of verse that surprise you and move you.”
“The Comedy of Errors” will take place in the Holmes Student Center Diversions Lounge Theatre. Shows are planned Thursday, March 19, through Sunday, March 22. Weeknight and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday.