The Optimist Theater Presents William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors
By Livia Peterson
As we may have read William Shakespeare in school, we may discover his prose is difficult to read due to the language and intended to be performed. I remember reading A Midsummer’s Night Dream and Romeo & Juliet, watching the film adaptations, and utterly confused in the English class. The Optimist Theater and Marcus Center’s Peck Pavilion allows the literature to come full circle.
Travel to the 1500s and be prepared to adjust to Shakespeare’s prose for at least fifteen minutes even though The Comedy of Errors provides a simple yet hilarious narrative and numerous characters. In Ephesus, the twins Antipholus of Ephesus (Connor Blankenship) and Dromio of Syracusa (Rebekah Farr) visit the town and mistaken for each other.
Once adjusted to Shakespeare’s prose, The Comedy of Errors is brisk and amusing, alongside Posy Knight’s vibrant scenic design and David M. Greenberg’s sophisticated sound. Christy Sieber’s costumes remind us of Shakespeare’s time with a modern touch.
The exquisite performances equally transport us to Ephesus, with Luciana (Libby Amato) and Adriana (Katherine Norman) providing the feminist perspective and reflecting how women are considered today. The First Merchant and Courtesan (Tami Workentin) is embarrassingly underused, considering she’s a Milwaukee Repertory Theater treasure in Always…Patsy Cline. The minor characters and ensemble are subtly mesmerizing, as long as one is completely immersed.
The Peck Pavilion enhances the delightful experience due to it is as if we are in Shakespeare’s time without the yell and scream reactions and standing up in the theatre. Thank goodness for the seats. The Shakespeare in the Park feels like a million dollars even though the ticket costs nothing (however, expensive to produce) and may be considered a rite of passage for passionate theatre attendees. Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors is perfect for everyone with a little of everything.
The Comedy of Errors closes on Saturday, July 13, 2019. The Optimist Theater’s 2020 Season is scheduled to produce Henry IV, Part I and 2021 Season is scheduled to produce Romeo & Juliet. Thank you to the founders Mary Lynn (ML) Cogar, Tom Reed, and Susan and Scott Fry for providing free Shakespeare and more. Visit the official website for more information.