“The Comedy of Errors,” from The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, by W. Shakespeare

I’m so glad this one’s a short play. Had it been any longer, I would’ve been banging my head against the wall. I have a distinct feeling it would’ve been far more fun to watch this on the stage rather than read it.

The Comedy of Errors is about twins separated at birth, and one is completely unaware of the existence of the other. Actually, to further complicate it, it’s about two sets of twins separated at birth, both pairs sharing the same first names. The nobleman is named Antipholus (of Syracuse or Ephesus), and the servants are Dromio (of Syracuse or Ephesus). The Syracuse pair have come to Ephesus to find said brother Antipholus and do some trading, but when they split up, Antipholus meets the Dromio from Ephesus, and Dromio meets the Antipholus of Ephesus.

You can see what will happen from here–and both the Dromios suffer for it. Honestly, every time they try to explain or figure out what’s happened, they get beaten.

So the Ephesian Antipholus and Dromio are married and the Syracuse boys meet these women, which causes a lot more confusion, especially when the Antipholus of Ephesus tries to get in the front door and is forbidden from entering his own home, setting up even more conflict potential.

Somehow, it ends up with a happily-ever-after, but it’s a long stretch in getting there.

Again, I’m glad that this was a short play. Though after reading (and re-reading) it, I have to say it wasn’t that bad…just tiresome. It reminds me of the reasons I quit watching flicks like Bringing Up Baby (though I love Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn). Yes, it’s funny how things get so mixed up, but it’s damned tiresome when nobody will shut up long enough to ask the right question, the question the audience knows should be asked mere seconds into the conversation that would clear it all up.

Oh well, just not my cup of tea, I suppose…though I wouldn’t sneeze at a free ticket to go and see it on the stage.

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