Theatre Information

Francis Howell High School The Comedy of Errors

By • Nov 8th, 2012 • Category: Cappies, Missouri

Too often in the modern theater are Shakespeare’s comedies presented in a “cookie-cutter” style which leaves much to be desired by the audience. Finding a subtle balance between preserving the integrity of Shakespeare’s work and simultaneously creating a captivating, interesting, and new interpretation of the play is a delicate challenge at best. However, this was far from the case in Francis Howell High School’s production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, which captivated the audience with a spirited cast and clever props.

The Comedy of Errors is a story of two sets of identical twins which at a young age are separated in a devastating ship wreck. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, travel to Ephesus, which happens to be the home of their long-lost twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus, and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. The interactions of the various Dromios and Antipholuses with the various townspeople in Ephesus lead to mistaken identities, love triangles, and multifarious minor crimes. This eventually culminates in the face-to-face encounter of the twins and the ensuing resolution one expects in any self-respecting Shakespearean comedy.

Francis Howell with the help of student director Danielle Crosno have achieved something remarkable in their presentation of this play. The stage interactions of each character are genuine, and the addition of a narrator and incorporation of particular props created some of the most hysterical scenes of the evening while coincidentally clarifying confusing aspects of the play to the audience. At times, actors would forget to project their lines out away from the stage, but for the most part this was a non-issue. In spite of this minor problem, what truly made this play special was the energy of the cast. Starting in Act One and finishing with a bow, each and every member of the cast demonstrated terrific energy that excited the audience and moved the show along at a rapid clip. The result was a production that made the audience forget themselves as they became completely invested in each character.

Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus were brought to life by Katie Angeli and Tina Donnelly. Antipholus of Syracuse, played by Clayton Humburg, was exciting to watch with his interpretive stage gestures and facial expressions. Adriana, played by Jessie Basler, and Luciana, played by Laura Haug, also had praiseworthy performances. The Narrator, played by Cidney Woodson, provided a fantastic contrast in her modern English. She was consistent in her accent, when an accent was required, and completely devoted to her role.

The utilization of the stage was slightly disappointing: the vast majority of the play prior to intermission was performed on the right side of the stage, but in the final two acts the stage was more creatively utilized. The fountain in the center of the stage was interesting, and provided an excellent prop. The various minor props utilized by the actors, such as a whiteboard and a globe, were also stimulating and effective.

The Comedy of Errors as performed by Francis Howell High School’s Limelight Theater was a fun-filled extravaganza of hilarity and energy.

by Jon Baer of Mary Institute St. Louis Country Day School

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