The Dordt University Theatre Arts Department will present William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” directed by Professor of Theatre Arts Laurel Koerner, at the Te Paske Theatre on February 21-24 at 7:30 p.m., as well as on February 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at https://dordt.ticketleap.com/.
Drawing inspiration from the silent film era for both the look and acting style of the show, The Comedy of Errors follows Antipholus and his servant Dromio as they arrive in Ephesus after traveling from his father’s home in Syracuse. The men are searching for their long-lost brothers after being tragically separated at birth. Syracuse natives aren’t allowed in Ephesus, but their desire to go undetected is quickly thwarted when everyone they meet seems to already know who they are. Hilarity ensues, as the twin brothers of both Antipholus and Dromio are in the same city and are continually mistaken for the brothers they’ve never met.
Koerner says that Comedy of Errors is a good point of entry to Shakespeare. “My hope is that people who think they don’t like Shakespeare’s plays or don’t ‘get’ them will find themselves pleasantly surprised by our rendition,” she says.
Inspired by physical comedy in the vein of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Koerner and her team added a twist of vintage circus to the 1920s aesthetic to amplify the story’s confusions and illusions as well as to develop the characters’ eccentricities in lively and colorful ways. The story takes place in a port city where the gears of business are always turning—an important plot point, says Koerner, so they sought to capture the Mediterranean feel in the architecture to set the scene.
“There is, of course, a lot of comedy in the word play, turns of phrases, and double meanings, which is typical of Shakespeare’s comedies,” adds Koerner. “We’ve worked hard to make the meaning behind the words clear.”
Becky Donahue, costumer and production manager, is proud of the work that students have done so far on The Comedy of Errors. “Their dedication and hard work is evident in this production, from the scenic work to the costumes to the performances themselves,” she says. “The level of talent and passion displayed by the cast and crew is truly impressive, and it’s clear that they have put in countless hours of rehearsal and preparation to ensure the show is a success. I can’t wait to see what they do next!”
About Dordt University
As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, the Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.