The Comedy of Errors, now playing at the Public Theater, fresh from a tour of city churches and correction facilities, is fun, compact, and in your face—just the right package to take on the road.  If the show never settles into an interpretation beyond spirited street theatre, this may have to do with the play itself (thought to be one of Shakespeare’s earliest), as well as the fear that Shakespeare can be boring.  Kwame Kwei-Armah, the director, might have a deeper notion of the work in mind, however. He uses provocative, cultural totems, setting the play at the border between Syracuse and Ephesus, with American military guards on patrol and hacky-sack playing actors using Southern accents. There is little follow-up on his imaginative reference to illegal immigration, one of the most dividing issues in the U.S. today—or in the world, for that matter. The love of physical theatre, as well as the abilities of raucous, talented actors take over, which may be enough for a chance to see Shakespeare, even if one wishes for further reverberation.  The roles of the two sets of twins are consolidated into single actors, using different hats—rap music and stereotypes abound, from pimps to Southerners to hookers to nuns. Ultimately, you may feel that the director teasingly did what he could with an, at times, sophomoric script, which prefigures Twelfth Night and Pericles, among others.  Kwei-Armah banks on the energy of his cast, instead of making a larger artistic point about civics in this Comedy of Errors—but who would deport that?

Visit the Public Theater:

Featuring Matthew Citron, Bernardo Cubria, Flor De Liz Perez, Christina Pumariega, Lucas Caleb Rooney, David Ryan Smith, and Zuzanna Szadkowski

Mobile Shakespeare Unit

Written By William Shakespeare
Directed By Kwame Kwei-Armah

Scenic and Costume Design Moria Sine Clinton

Composer Shane Rettig

Press  Laura Rigby, Public Theater 

© 2015 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved. 

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