|Please ignore my double chin. It normally isn't that pronounced.|
On our drive to the theater to watch a performance of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, Big V asked, "So, is this a rotation of different comics? Or skits? Or just one guy doing stand-up?" And I knew I had to tweet that right away. Because this guy had no clue what we were about to go see. And that made me laugh. Hard.
Do you know who Shakespeare is?
Yeah, the guy that did Romeo and Juliet.
Right. And, do you remember how he talks?
You mean all those thee's and thou's and come hither's?
Wait. Is this play going to be like that? Thee and thou and come hither?
I hope I don't fall asleep. I only got 4 hours of sleep last night.
Look, if you stay awake for the entire first act I'll buy you a drink at intermission.
|"Where's Shakespeare for Dummies in this thing?"|
Once we found our seats I suggested Big V read the synopsis of what the hell is about to happen on stage. Except there was no such thing in the program. There was a cast of characters. And a note from the director. But the best thing we could come up with was a 2-sentence description. I hadn't read The Comedy of Errors in years and there was no way I was going to remember all the twists and turns. As for V, well, he'd just have to hold tight for his halftime cocktail.
But then that's when they announced there'd be no intermission because it's only a 90 minute play and Big V actually groaned and gave me a How Will I Ever Survive look. Then I reminded him that he had the ability to watch back to back Rocky movies without ever twitching a muscle, surely he could sit through this.
Always a positive guy, Big V noted we were surrounded my college students who were obviously given this opportunity for extra credit so at least they'd all clear out at intermission leaving us with plenty of room to sprawl out. I'm not entirely sure I've ever sprawled at a theater before, but it sounded pleasant.
And that's when a freaking bat started swooping and dive bombing the audience. Yes. A bat. Probably one with rabies. And of course I immediately posted that to my Facebook and Twitter accounts because it's not every day you go to the theater with wild creatures. And someone replied with "sounds like they go all out on the props" and another replied with "Ha! There's an 'error' for ya!"
And I sat wondering what would happen if the bat started attacking the actors on stage while they were performing; how long would it be before people realized it wasn't part of the play? And would the actors break character?
Me thinks the flying rodent hath infected mine flesh with poison!
Come hither! Cloak thyself in darkness 'fore thy ravin monster doth partake in thine blood!
And then I thought how freaking awesome it would be if I could write a play about actors being attacked onstage by a horde of bats except the audience doesn't realize it's not part of the play because they don't speak Shakespeare and then I thought I'd probably have to write the play in regular English and see if Google Translate has an English to Shakespeare option.
And then the guy came out and told us to stop texting because the show was starting and Big V looked over at me as if I was the only one currently partaking in my mobile device. Puh-lease! We were in the student section. Everyone was using their mobile devices.
And then it got quiet, as is the custom when a show is about to begin. Except the lights did not go down. But then we heard what sounded like a loud, singular drop of water. And then another. And another. And we were all looking around in the brightly lit theater wondering what the hell was going on and that made me think that if we were confused already this show is likely to bomb. Because no one is even talking yet and we can't follow.
And the loud dripping water noises continued and people started snickering because, let's face it, as Americans we're uncomfortable with complete silence while still being able to clearly see the people next to us. Awkward. And the dripping got faster and faster and some college kid said I'm tired of this already and I prayed Big V hadn't heard that because I was kind of liking The Loud Water Dripping Yet No One Knows Why experiment. And then I wondered if the bat was part of the social experiment, too, but then I stopped thinking because the lights suddenly went out and the water went silent and there were two men on stage, one in shackles who started talking. A lot.
And I understood maybe every third or fourth word.
And I glanced over at Big V who had his eyes closed.
And I thought maybe more people would come watch Shakespeare if they translated the words on a big screen above the stage, like they do for foreign films, so we could figure out why that guy just chuckled. Because if it was a joke, no one else got it.
And then I got kind of sad. Because 90 minutes is a long time to be sitting in a theater not knowing what people are saying while worrying about whether or not you'll be bitten by a screeching bat.
I'm not even sure how it happened, I just know that one minute the whole section was fidgeting and sighing and stretching and the next minute we're all captivated by the stage and it was SO FUNNY and so awesome and exactly the best place anyone could be.
First of all, the actors did not use microphones. Let me explain to you how awesome that is. It is awesome because that is how actors were first taught. To speak to the back of the house. To command the emotion in your voice let enable it to be heard across rows and rows and rows of people. This takes talent. Real talent. And also, as an audience member, we don't have to deal with the dreaded the mics went out debacle where, due to uncontrollable technical difficulties the microphones fail and actors are seemingly unable to speak loud enough to be heard past the first two rows. The rest of the audience suffers through seven minutes of missed dialogue.
Since this was a play about two sets of identical twins one worries about how spot on the casting was - not in this show! The casting was phenominal. I cannot say enough positive things about the casting! The two Antipholus-es (or would it be Antipholi?)... uh, the two gentlemen that played the Antipholus twins were very similar... but the undeniable casting expertise was evident in Sid Solomon and Joseph Midyett as the Dromio's.
|Photo Credit: The Acting Company|
|Photo Credit: The Acting Company|
There is a marvelously funny sword fight scene that had the audience rolling on the floor laughing; something straight out of Tom & Jerry. Hysterical! But it also got me wondering if a sword has ever been accidentally flung out into the audience before. So I made a mental note to always sit in the balcony if there were weapons involved because as bad as it would be to be eaten by a rabid bat, it would totally suck worse to be skewered in the eyeball by a flunging sword. (See how I did that? I totally made up flunging... it means "that which has been flung." Flunging: make it go viral, people.)
The jailer was splendid even though he had few lines. I about died when he whipped out a book and started reading while the other actors around him were busy fighting and accusing and yelling at each other. There he stood patiently reading. It was a wonderful moment.
Thespian Zachary Fine channeled his inner disturbed Gary Busey and mixed it together with his version of a drunk Nick Nolte for an unforgettable interpretation of Dr. Pinch that will stick in my mind forever! I scoured the web for a photo but was unable to find anything - which is a shame, so you'll just have to see the show in person to experience it. Which you absolutely must!
For all the deserved praise I give the show overall, there was, however, a tad bit of a downer. And that would be the drab acting of the sister (Luciana). She fell flat. I suppose I should give her the benefit of the doubt because perhaps Shakespeare wrote the character in such a way as to make us wonder whether or not the poor girl had lost a bet and was forced on stage against her will.
As we were driving home, Big V mentioned he also disliked the "slutty girl" and thought she made it too obvious that the rest of the cast was having fun and she wasn't. I looked in the program and quickly realized it was the same actress playing both roles. My unsolicited advice, dear girl: pep it up. Make us remember you in a way that does not include stifling our yawns. (Thank goodness her roles were small.)
Overall, Big V gave the show two thumbs up. Origionally, he was only going to give it one and a half (because of flat acting girl) but then a cute, perky blonde co-ed flirted with him on our way out and he suddenly felt the tides shift. Or, something shift in him. Either way, he actually said he would go see the show again now that he kind of gets what it's about.