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The Comedy of Errors

 

Jonathan Gonzalez, Rebekah Moore, Brandon Roberts, Andrews Fonda Jackson



Because comedies rely on coincidences and unrealistic plot devices, some tend to dismiss them as slight confections, inferior in depth and substance to that of tragedy. Yet Shakespearean comedy explores some of the same issues as tragedy, but in a different key, and of course with a different conclusion.

 

 

 


The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet becomes a comedy in A Midsummer Night's Dream when the local workmen put on the play they have written about "star-crossed lovers" separated by a parental feud.

The structure of King Lear mirrors that of As You Like It: a ruler disinherits his daughter, a brother betrays his brother, people discover things about themselves wandering around in the woods with a Fool, and there is a return to court in the end.

 


LeaAnne Rumbel, Mary Knoll and Brandon Roberts

Enjoyment of comedy depends on the audiences' willingness to enter the comic world and accept its artifice, no matter how improbable. The Comedy of Errors starts with a huge improbability, two sets of identical twins end up in a city where they are mistaken for each other, leading to complete chaos and suggestions of madness and witchcraft, until eventually everything is improbably solved and we have the mandatory happy ending.

 

 

The Audience and Comedy



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