Just when you think it can't get any better, along comes Kenneth Albers' magical production of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors." It's set mostly in a Middle Eastern bazaar. We have a rug shop with various other merchant shops on two levels of the theater, with push cart merchants and a generally busy market place. The lavish costumes suit the elaborate sets in this visual spectacle.

This is the story of two sets of twins who were separated as infants. We have Antipholus and his servant Dromio of Syracuse, who have ended up in Ephesus, where everyone seems to know them. People give gold and jewels to them. The confusion begins when Antipholus of Ephesus gives a bag of gold to Dromio of Syracuse to store for him. When Dromio of Ephesus fetches him for dinner, Antipholus wants his gold back. Of course this Dromio knows nothing of it and the madcap comedy degenerates from here.

The twins and Dromii are mirror images of each other. They are costumed slightly different, but you only notice it when they are together, which doesn't happen until the end. Needless to say, confusion reigns, from Adriana, Antipholus of Ephesus' wife, who mistakes Syracuse for her husband, to her sister Luciana in whom Syracuse is much more interested. This creates some real hysterics. Vilma Silva and Catherine Lynn Davis are stupendous as the Dromii. They are the same height, have similar voices, and the same extremely animated mannerisms. The twins' father, Egeon, who is awaiting execution for being a Syracusian caught in Ephesus comments that he always liked Dromio of Syracuse because he was funny. If these Dromii are anything they are funny. David Kelly and Ted Deasy also are the same height with similar, more reserved mannerisms as the Antipholi.

This production has tremendous special and sound effects that turn it almost into a, zounds Batman, comic book story. It works spectacularly. Ray Porter is the musical merchant using various percussion instruments, kazoos and whistles for his effects. he hits a drum when Antipholus beats Dromio. when he raises a finger-ding- his timing is always perfect. There is a lot of stop action, as a character slips out of an embrace or choke hold to clarify something for the audience. Antipholus of Ephesus constantly knocks the constable down with sweeping gestures when he just happens to be in the way. Dr Pinch, the conjurer rises to his full height, about two stories as he summons his spells and flames shoot from the pillars on the stage. This is probably the highlight of the the special effects, and it's really good. All ends happily in this scintillating production of the side-splitting "The Comedy of Errors" in the Elizabethan Theater at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival 98

Henry IV Pt.1 | Cymbeline | Comedy of Errors | Measure for Measure | Touch of the Poet | Sailing to Byzantium
 Midsummer Night's Dream | School for Scandal | Uncle Vanya | OSF Commentary

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