Sean Graney is both a genius and Insane! That is probably the best way to describe what he is presenting on the stage at the Court Theatre on the campus of The University of Chicago, with his new and wild adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors. “Errors” has been called Shakespeare’s most frivolous comedy.While the play is filled with great laughs as two sets of twins, separated as infants when their boat capsized have been living in different cities, somewhat unaware of each other. The servants have the same first name as do the masters, which is the first step in mistaken identities which is what causes all the hilarity as the two end up in the same town ( as does their father and mother). While the play is funny and a classic in the eyes of the Shakespeare lovers, what Graneyhas done is add the wild ingredients of using just six actors to play all the roles with some of the quickest costume changes one has ever seen on any stage- an amazing feat and the four stagehands/dressers who get this accomplished are indeed entitled to more than just a curtain call for their brilliant work, they should be listed in the program as this play could not succeed without them.
Graney, as a guest director, has chosen to do Shakespeare in a whole new manner. Partly because he feels that this will expose the sub-plot of what “The Bard” was really trying to say. Are we who we think we are? Are we in fact who others think we are? But of greater importance, he doesn’t want to do the play as others have done, he wants the audience to have fun, and unless you are a prude, you will have fun as we see each actor take on many roles, many of them spoofing the social issues that Shakespeare was expressing. It is sort of like Shakespeare as done by the Three Stooges or Abbott and Costello meets Shakespeare. Graneyhas captured the heart and soul of what Shakespeare has written in a fast paced energetic slapstick comedy that is roughly 85 minutes with no intermission. That is to say 85 minutes of hilarity where the audience can forget all of the problems of our world today and just have fun. Let’s face it, we go to the theater to be entertained and Graney and his superb cast get the job done.
Six actors handle 20 roles and never miss a cue. From the very start of the play , when adorable Elizabeth Ledo tells us the news about the fued between Syracuse and Ephesus ( the towns the twins hail from) as the newsboy town crier, it never lest up. Her multitude or roles are zny and her charcaters are all played to perfection. Kurt Ehrmann handles several roles as well including the Courtezan that is a show stopper;Steve Wilson portrays the duke as well as an officer and a merchant and The lovely Stacy Stoltz has come a long way since her recent performance in Stella in “Streetcar Named Desire” , showing her flair for comedy in her many roles. The twins are played by the remarkable Erik Hellman ( Antipholus), who I have always pictured in serious roles and the Dromios are played by the rubber faced Alex Goodrich who just keeps getting better as the zany comic character.
No, this is not your typical Shakespeare! No ,this is not what you might have expected at The Court Theatre! This is sheer genius on the part of Graney and the Board of Directors at The Court.This is a theatrical event and classic farce as Graney sees it ,and I for one loved every second of it! The only problem with this production, as I see it, is that it will only run through October 17th, so I suggest that you get on the stick, so you can see the shtick at The Court Theatre located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue ( the campus of The University of Chicago). The performance schedule is:
Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets range from $30 -$60 and are available at the box office, by phone at 773-753-4472 or online at www.CourtTheatre.org
Plenty of free parking- students and seniors can get discounted tickets(check with the box office)