Sunday, January 2, 2011

Comedy of Errors Acts 1 and 2


it's official. i've read some Shakespeare. i have to admit that i'm a little rusty. it took forever to get in the groove, but in the groove i am getting. bring it.

basically, here's what's up so far:
Egeon has been arrested for unlawfully being in Ephesus. he tells a woeful tale of his wife, twin sons, and their twin servants who were all separated at sea. the son (Antipholus of Syracuse) and servant (Dromio of Syracuse) who were separated with Egeon have come to Ephesus to look for the mother and other set of twins (Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus), but Egeon doesn't know they are there. the mother and other set of twins are in Ephesus, but no one knows that yet either. if Egeon doesn't get 1,000 marks by the end of the day, he will be put to death. that crazy Shakespeare.
A of S sends D of S to the inn with some money. D of E shows up asking A of S to come home to dinner, thinking he is A of E. confusion and beatings ensue. A of E's wife (Adriana) and her sister show up looking for A of E, but finds A and D of S instead. more confusion and beating. i feel confused just typing it and A of E hasn't even made an appearance yet!

i'm delighted to see just a glimmer of that fiesty female that Shakespeare is known for in Adriana. i love at the beginning of act 2 when she questions why men should have greater liberty than women. yes. get it girl. i am hoping for some hard core sass later from her.

i've also decided to count how many times servants get beaten for their masters' misunderstandings and mistakes. so far, i've counted three. HA. silly slave-owners.

i am a little baffled by a passage in act one, scene one. lines 27-41 are a little foggy for me. i think i'm only getting some of what they are getting at there. anyone care to illuminate us?

i am also already bored with the i-think-you're-someone-else, you're-confused-by-it-and-that-makes-me-mad joke. although some of the word play is brilliant, by the time we get to act two, scene two i am over it. i am hoping for a few more twists in the following acts. what do y'all think?

quote of the day:
'He that commends me to mine own content
Commends me to the thing I cannot get.
I to the world am like a drop of water
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself;
So I, to find a mother and a brother,
In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself.'
       -COE act 1, scene 2


for tomorrow: Comedy of Errors, Act 3


  1. WHOA, that's intense.... A of E and D are cray cray... or was it F of U? j/k j/k seriously i love it... what's gonna happen in 3? so excited for ya baby :) shall we read the next play together? Let me know :) MWAH!!! btw i'm your first comment here :)

  2. In THE BOMB-ITTY, Ranney played Antipholus of Ephesus and his own wife, as well as other characters. My favorite scene was when Adriana and her sister, Luciana, rapped a debate about gender issues, while Adriana vented her marital woes and Luciana comforted her, amidst dancing the Electric Slide together. It was simultaneously funny, touching, and thought-provoking. Women continue to struggle with some of the same problems as those discussed in works by Jane Austen, Shakespeare, the Classical playwrights of Ancient Greece, etc.

    On getting bored: Keep in mind that a script on the page is missing a lot of the elements that make it work on stage. You lack potentially riotous sight gags, the humor actors bring through their performance of exasperated frustration, and the sheer joy of laughing at your own confusion in the audience and/or feeling triumphant when you catch on to the chaos.

  3. The mistaken identity thing gets a bit old, but it is the interactions between those that mistake one for the other that are hilarious to me. I think the old adage that we shouldn't repeat a joke more than 3x was not in play during this era of theatre.

    I am quite interested in the 1000 marks thing because of a contemporary of Will's--Christopher Marlowe. There are some that have a long held belief that Marlowe and Shakespeare are one in the same. They go so far as to pinpoint the disappearance aka death of Marlowe to the emergence of Will. One of the theories that are propounded is that Marlowe was killed because he owed a considerable amount of money to someone. Perhaps 1000 marks? That crazy Shakespeare could BE that crazy Marlowe! A couple of you may remember the IB Theatre project we did a few years ago (okay, a decade ago) trying to prove/disprove that Marlowe and Shakespare were one and the same. Fascinating debate.

  4. Looking at that passage now, doesn't look too confusing. Aegean is being asked why he left and came to Ephesus. He then explains that it's been bad luck (nature) and not any "vile offense" that has brought him there. His very presence is breaking the law, and with that line, he's trying to emphasize that it's not really his fault, just bad luck that has brought him there--essentially, it's a "hey, man, I've done nothing wrong, just a bad situation I couldn't control, so can you go easy on me?" deal. He then talks of his birthplace, his more-or-less happy marriage, and successful merchant business, which took a turn for the worse when his "factor," which I reason to mean someone necessary for the ship to travel, or perhaps his buyer, leaving him to care for the goods that had not been delivered, and kept him from his wife.

  5. You're right. In the context of the entire play, the passage comes to life.