Shakespearean classic receives a modern facelift

“The Comedy of Errors” dress rehearsal

Antipholous of Syracuse (freshman Chris Forrer, left) and Dromio of Sri Lanka (sophomore Garrick Rozario) try to avoid a courtesan (junior Steven Stewart) in “The Comedy of Errors” dress rehearsal May 1. Danyelle Meyers Freelancer.

Mention of the Shakespearean play “The Comedy of Errors” may signal to an audience that it will be subjected to language from that era and that it will be more confusing than amusing.
However, Linfield college theater students, in an adaptation by Janet Gupton, associate professor of theatre arts, have developed the play’s modern appeal.
The adapted version takes place in present day. The International Market Place of Waikiki in Honolulu is where the play’s location is set, whereas the islands of Greece are written into the original work.
The setting is a major revision and the costume design has been revamped — even the acting style has been modernized, but not completely. Gupton said in a press release that she searched for a balance between contemporary language and Shakespeare’s original language so as not to depart from Shakespeare’s writing play, but still interplay with modernism.
The storyline, however, remains true to form. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio of Syracuse arrive in Ephesus, which, unbeknownst to the man and his servant, is the home of each man’s identical twin. The four men comprise two sets of identical twins whose families and friends mistake them during the production.
“The show has been pretty fun to work on,” sophomore Grace Beckett said. “A lot of the play has been revamped. Some characters speak in contemporary language, but the Shakespearean language has been a nice challenge for those of us who kept it. My character, originally named ‘Angelo’ is now ‘Angela.’ The costume design is also pretty fun and bold. A few of us are doing the play in swimsuits.”
Dean of Students Dave Hansen was honored on the opening night of “The Comedy of Errors.” On May 7, Professor of English Ken Erickson will also be recognized.
Hansen has shown the theater program tremendous support during his time as dean of students, a position which he will step down from after this year at Linfield. Erickson, who will retire from the department of English at year’s end, has taught Shakespearean literature with great zeal during his time as a professor.
Show dates and times are set for May 6-8 and 13-15 at 8 p.m. and May 9 at 2 p.m. Performances will take place inside the Marshall Theatre of Ford Hall.
A full-price ticket is $9. Tickets are $7 for seniors, Linfield faculty and staff. Student tickets are $5. On opening night, tickets will be discounted. Tickets will be sold to mothers for $5 on Mother’s Day.
Visit to purchase tickets online, or by phone at 503-883-2292. In-person purchases from Marshall Theatre Box Office are an option, as well.
Septembre Russell
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