By Ed Kliszus
This was a production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors by the Drilling Company. Now in their 28th year, the troupe brought the Bard’s genius to New York’s Lower East Side. Moreover, the troupe honored and brought this hilarious Shakespearean masterpiece to life, customized just enough to tweak the ears.
The Stage for The Comedy of Errors
The scene was set in a parking lot on Norfolk Street in between buildings. Meanwhile, audience members assembled in seats around a square about 15 feet across with a centrally placed simple bench.
Moreover, the actors’ droll and elegant linguistic patter sliced into the backdrop of the city’s hubbub of engines, horns, and sirens. They drew us into a virtual world of a topsy-turvy pastiche of clever banter, delight, and merriment.
Cowboys and Twins
Akin to the Coen brothers’ film, The Big Lebowski, a cowboy actor (Hamilton Clancy) like Sam Elliot started the action and set the scene. Clearly, this was not Stratford on Avon with 16th-century accouterments, despite the generally expected Shakespearean dramaturgy. Nonetheless, the Bard’s genius landed squarely in a delightful locale on the Lower East Side.
From the opening, comedic cues spun as a story unfolded of two sets of identical twins separated at birth. Later, Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio found themselves in Ephesus and bumped into their twin counterparts, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant Dromio.
Southern Belles and Dudes
A collision of long-lost twins in The Comedy of Errors led to outrageous, riotous events. Also, the actors’ portrayals ensured incredibly witty wordplay and exciting swordplay. In addition, surprising plot twists ensured engaging, charming merriment. Indeed, viewers chuckled at accents usually used by southern belles and natives of Queens or Brooklyn.
Henceforth, terms like “dude” (more from the Coen brothers) and references to the Bowery and the acrostic “LES” added to the fun in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Wait, is she filing her nails? Did someone just say, “Get your ass over here,” or “For God’s Sake!” or deliver a back massage? Although all the characters’ true identities eventually revealed themselves, it occurred only after generous portions of comedic chaos and audience laughter.
Shakespeare’s words are timeless, sagacious, linguistic jewels. These words sailed into the August rivers of one’s mind:
· “Yet, that the world may witness that my end was wrought by nature.”
· “I commend you to your own content.”
· “Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife: ‘Tis holy sport to be a little vain when the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.”
· “Why, headstrong liberty is lashed with woe.”
· “My blood is mingled with the crime of lust; for if we two be one, and thou play false, I do digest the poison of thy flesh.”
· “The sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.”
Finally, in the denouement, as joyously spoken by Dromio of Ephesus, Act 5 Scene 1.
· “And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.”
Do not miss this timeless classic of mistaken identities and riotous, good-natured fun!
The Drilling Company’s Shakespeare in The Parking Lot Returns with The Comedy Of Errors
Presented by The Drilling Company and co-presented by The Clemente.
Hamilton Clancy, Director
Drew Valins as Antipholus of Syracuse and Ephesus
Jack Sochet as Angelo
Hamilton Clancy as Aegean
Remy Souchon as Dr. Pinch
Lizabeth Allen as Dromio of Ephesus
Patrick Hart as a Local Merchant
Erin G. Mahoney as Luciana/Courtesan
Pëtra Denison as Adriana
Karla Hendrick as Dromio of Syracuse
Jamie Russell as the Deputy
Katherine O’Sullivan as Omelia
Liusaidh Hopper as Luce/PSM
Robert Arcaro as Duke Solinus/Officer
Where And When
July 20-29, 2023 – Performances are from July 20 to 29, Thursdays to Saturdays at 7:00 PM, in the Parking Lot of The Clemente, 114 Norfolk Street, NY NY (between Rivington & Delancey)
Subways: F to Delancey Street, M to Essex Street.
FREE entry – donations are gratefully accepted.
Runtime: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Shakespeare at the Harvard Club, Bryant Park Grill, Take Me Back to Manhattan at Chelsea Table and Stage, and New Talent Showcas