By Holli Harms
Shakespeare has received a reimagining which has raised the bar for me for future productions of The Comedy of Errors. This remarkable bilingual bicultural musical celebration brilliantly adapted by Rebecca Martínez and Julián Mesri for The Public Theater’s The Mobile Unit is a must-see.
It would be a point of pride for the Bard himself.
“Bard” translated means “a tribal poet-singer,” and that is precisely this production with Shakespeare’s poetry put to Latin American Music with new songs created by Julián Mesri and Rebecca Martínez that enrich the story.
The story is centered around two sets of twins, Antipholus ( Joel Perez) and his slave Dromio (Gían Pérez), and their brothers, the other Antipholus (Joel Perez) and his slave also named Dromio (Gían Pérez). Yes, they are identical twins with the same name. The twins were separated as children by a ship caught in the inevitable and always handy storm in the world of Shakespeare.
As adults, one set of twins has taken off to find their brothers. They end up in Ephesus where unbeknownst to them their twins reside. Here is where the mistaken identities become head over heels as the Ephesus Antipholus has marital obligations that he is not exactly living up to and money woes that are hounding him while his twin the other Antipholus has no such obstacles. How this is all staged, the set of twins, and the confusion of family and friends, is a hilarious circus farce that never stops moving and delighting.
The actors and the musicians (the day I saw it the guitarist was none other than creator and composer Julián Mesri) are top-notch. Their comic timing perfection, their singing heavenly. You get Shakespeare AND a concert AND slapstick humor AND intelligent creative clever staging that will have you applauding and knee-slapping. Wait until you see how they navigate the twins – genius.
The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit is truly one of the gifts anointed to NYC’s five boroughs by The Public Theater’s creator and curator Joseph Papp. Papp believed that theater should be accessible to all, especially Shakespeare, and so with his theatrical sets of Shakespeare’s masterpieces on a truck, he and his band of merry men and women would travel from borough to borough to bring free Shakespeare for all. The Mobile Unit was created to continue that belief and it travels all over New York’s boroughs putting on free theater for any and all.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
Adaptation by Rebecca Martínez and Julián Mesri
The cast of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS will include Varín Ayala(Angelo/Egeon/Pinch), Danaya Esperanza (Adriana), Rebecca Jimenez(Understudy), Keren Lugo (Luciana), Alan Mendez (Understudy), Sara Ornelas(Troubadour), Gían Pérez (Dromio of Syracuse/Ephesus), Joel Perez (Antipholus of Syracuse/Ephesus), and Desireé Rodriguez (Courtesan/Emilia).
Music, Music Direction, and Spanish Translations by Julián Mesri
Lyrics by Julián Mesri and Rebecca Martínez
Directed and Choreographed by Rebecca Martínez
Scenic Design by Emmie Finckel, Costume Design by Lux Haac, Sound Design by Charles Coes
The Public Shiva Theater
Mobile Tour: May 2-May 21.
HERE is where you can find a fabulous free performance.
The Mobile Unit ends its run playing at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street
(at Astor Place) New York, NY 10003 from May 25 – June 11. It is also free at The Public.
Tickets For Public Performance
Running Time: 90 Minutes with no intermission