Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Double Your Fun

ane_doubleyourfunSSC scores with Scheie's 'Comedy of Errors' reboot


Longtime local theatergoers may remember Danny Scheie's original staging of “The Comedy of Errors” as possibly the single funniest production ever mounted at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Premiered in the 1988 season and encored in 1993, it made full use of the outdoor Festival Glen, including a bicycle-built-for-four that came roaring down the hillside, and a massive upstage wall with Laugh-In style open-and-shut windows that turned Shakespeare's frolicsome early comedy about two sets of twins, mistaken identities, and male-female relations into a literal slamming-door farce.

In celebration of SSC's 30th Anniversary season, Scheie returns with a lively reboot of “The Comedy of Errors.” Although scaled back for the indoor Mainstage with John Iacovelli's single, functional wall and a couple of chairs for a set, and eight intrepid performers handling some 20 speaking parts, this “Comedy” retains all of the laughs.

Indeed, the smaller venue adds a whole extra layer of laughs when we can see all the actors' facial expressions, while giving Scheie the chance to further hone his brilliant idea of a somewhat seedy troupe of traveling players putting on a show for "the rubes."

The concept is laid out in a witty pre-play monologue by one of the actresses (a hilarious Carly Cioffi) yakking on the phone before the show ("We don't have enough actors," she frets), an ingenious device that also incorporates thanking the sponsors and asking the audience to turn off their cell phones. This also explains why two actors (SSC stalwarts Mike Ryan and Brad DePlanche) are stuck playing dual roles as two sets of twins—the traveler, Antipholus, and his manservant, Dromio, from Syracuse, who wreak havoc in Ephesus when they're mistaken for their local counterparts, twin brothers from whom both were separated in infancy.

Ryan is wonderful as both sweet-natured, but increasingly distressed Antipholus of Syracuse, and his flip-side, the short-fused, ireful Antipholus of Ephesus. DePlanche (who also played the Dromios in the 1993 production) is a riot in his bellhop uniform as the Dromios, one childish, the other savvy, especially in his priceless mugging as each servant stretches to parry the witty Shakespearean wordplay lobbed back and forth. (Even if you don't get the jokes, DePlanch cracks you up.) Susan Engbrecht is a fine, raging Adriana, wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, fed up with her weirdly changeable husband, and Carly Cioffi is great fun again as her dizzy blonde, eager-to-please Kewpie doll of a sister, Luciana.

Beethovan Oden (as both a formidable Duke, and a sassy boa-wielding courtesan), the delightful Joan Mankin, and an unflappable Brad Myers are all terrific in various quick-change supporting roles. And special kudos to one-man-band Jonathan Shue, onstage throughout, who not only plays the banjo all night to underscore the action (when a sad tale unfolds, he strikes up the theme to Gone With The Wind) and provides Spike Jones-style sound effects (from honking horn to whistle, to kazoo), but also fills in with a line of dialogue whenever necessary. This entertaining cast and Scheie's fiendishly clever design make for a “Comedy” that would surely tickle the old Trouper of Avon himself.


“The Comedy of Errors” plays through Aug. 28 at the UCSC Mainstage. For tickets call (831) 459-2159, or visit shakespearesantacruz.org.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual