Interview with Eli Simon, Director, THE COMEDY OF ERRRORRS
So, Eli, what prompted you to choose this play?
ES: I was looking for just the right comedic piece that would resonate with Pericles’ theme of family lost and found. The Comedy of Errrorrs seemed perfect since it also hinges on the search for loved ones, and how finding your “twin" – that one person in the world that understands you from the inside out – makes you whole again.
What can our audiences expect with this production?
ES: Well, this is the Bard's purest farce, filled as it is with non-stop shenanigans. My hope is to provide a much-needed laugh-out-loud night in the theater.
You’ve set this one in the 70’s. Any special reason behind this?
ES: In the 70’s, the search for self-identity was of paramount importance. It struck me that the four twins could be a Boy Band separated early in life. They have an instinctive need to sing in four-part harmony. Our Ephesus is a boardwalk disco town, replete with the gypsies, quacks, and hookers that Shakespeare wrote into the play. And Mike Hooker has written an original funk/disco score.
Would you also say that this theme of finding yourself through connections with other people is particularly potent at this moment in time?
ES: Yes, absolutely. Now and always. This was a motivating objective for many of Shakespeare’s most memorable characters: King Lear, Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo, Juliet, and Viola. The Bard knew that lives are meaningless in isolation, that our greatest quest in life is the stability, love, and understanding that others, even strangers in strange towns, can bring. It’s a sobering reminder that inclusion – even in Ephesus where foreigners are shunned – is the best path forward. Connection resonates in his final line in the play: "And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before the other."
Where do you think Comedy falls in the legacy of Shakespeare's work? Especially considering it was one of his very first plays.
ES: Comedy is certainly as much fun as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing. There are more plot twists, dynamic puns, alliterations, rhyming couplets, and tumbling verse in this one. And it’s rhythmically alive, pulses with musical language, and is filled with comedic opportunities for the acting company. Shakespeare was surely laughing out loud when he penned this one. I like to think that our company is having as much fun with it as his company did 400 years ago.