Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Comedy of Errors Act 4


the hilarity ensues.

here's what's going on in act 4:
lots of stuff. to make a lot of information incredibly simple, the gold chain has become the catalyst for a crescendo of confusion. A of S has it, but A of E is asked for payment for it. A of E is arrested for non-payment and D of S is sent for bail money. he gets it, but runs into A of S before he finds A of E again.
following me? concentrate!
D of S runs into A of S, so now A of S has the A of E's gold chain and his money. a courtesan runs into him requesting her ring which A of E has. she gets P.O.'d and resolves to go to Adriana and take care of business. oh. snap.  D of E runs into A of E, and of course does not have the bail money. Adriana and Luciana also show up. A and D of E are both deemed to be mad and carted off. Adriana decides to go talk to the goldsmith to straighten things out and A and D of S decide to high tail it out of town.

it feels like a lot is going on in this act. the pace is quick, the twists are numerous, but it is kinda the same joke over and over again in different disguises. that is partly the genius of it all, but also partly why this play, as susan mentioned earlier, would be a lot more fun to watch than to read. there were 2 more beatings in this act to add to the heap. i imagine lots of running about and a wicked fast pace.

i'm thinking, based on what i've read in the play's introduction and what's going on in the play...
does Shakespeare have an obsession of sorts with unruly women? why?
is he purposefully questioning the notion of marriage? how and to what extent?
of course we will be able to examine this more as we go, but how is it forming now?

we are currently in mine hill, new jersey visiting our dear friends ace and alexis fuentes and their phenomenal family. i told them today that i think i want this blog to be a little more personal. maybe relating it to life will make this whole thing more interesting? so ace says, "well did you fart today?" ... he's got a point there. i'm working out exactly what it is.

quote of the day:
'i cannot, nor i will not, hold me still.
my tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will.
he is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
ill faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
stigmatical in making, worse in mind.'
       -Adriana; act 4, scene 2

for tomorrow: act 5

-rebecca maydriana


  1. At this point, I want to reiterate something that I have said for years--Shakespeare is meant to be played not read. Having seen the USF production of this show (with Jaime Giangrande btw Rebecca--I think she was Adriana, but she may have been Luciana)all the actions that seem so repetitious with the read are absolutely hilarious in action. In the production that I saw, they had many moments in which both As and Ds were onstage at the same time with the wrong counterpart. This was made obvious to us through costuming (color coordination) and really worked to set up the actions. Remember that this was set in 1960's Communist Cuba--so much, much interest in color in costume and setting. In fact, I seem to remember an upperstory clothesline with red long johns hanging from it. But maybe not!

  2. I just read Ace's comment. Missed it in the initial read. You know what you always say, Rebecca--the only thing that makes me laugh is bodily functions, so maybe Ace has a point there. LOL

  3. What Mama Dilkes said (about the playing, not the farting...although...)

    One thing to keep in mind with the twistiness and constant mistaken identity issues is Shakespeare's background in Roman Comedies. While he never went to college, he did attend grammar school and almost assuredly read the Roman Classics of Terence, Seneca, and Plautus. Most of these shows were pretty formulaic in character structure (kind of like modern sitcoms) and usually had facets like: Twins separated at birth, Mistaken identities, Slaves or servants who are clever, witty, or sarcastic, Dirty old men, Slapstick, etc. These show up all over Shakespearean and Renaissance plays in general because that's who these guys grew up reading.

  4. Jaime Giangrande-Holcom and her husband, Chris, are good friends of Ranney's and mine from our Jobsite days in Tampa.

    The chase scene in THE BOMB-ITTY was absolutely bonkers. Ranney always maintained it would be even more fun to watch the four guys backstage as they ran and jumped over obstructions, while throwing off and on costume pieces, wigs, and hats in their rush to make an entrance seconds after exiting on the far side of the set. I can only imagine what it was like the night the show went on in a torrential downpour, because I didn't go to that one.

  5. So true. There is definite Roman influence in all of Shakespeare's works. The use of sententiae (moral lessons to any high schoolers who are reading), a steadfast pledge to oration, the recurrent use of ghosts and magic are all exemplary of that time frame and completely evident in Shakespeare's collective works. My two favorite plays are represented thematically in this fashion--Hamlet and Tempest.

    While I am certain the main influence is definitively found in Plautus, there may be some inklings of Terence in The Tempest particularly. Shakespeare may be making a public nod to Terence's initial indentureship through both Caliban and Ariel in The Tempest. If you haven't already seen the Taymor productoin of Tempest, by the way, it's bloody brilliant--especially her treatment of Ariel.

    There are also many trappping of the Commedia, particularly evident in this play. The recurrent lazzi, which we found repetitive to read, must have been hilarious in performance.

    Public apologies for grammar and spelling errors in this post. Waaaaay past my bedtime and I am too lazy to right the wrongs.