Castle Theatre Company is back on tour, 16 days, 15 individuals, 4 cars, 2 tents and 1 ‘overseas’ trip to the Isle of Wight – what could possibly go wrong!?
poster credit – Em Oliver
Greetings from sunny Ephesus! Durham University’s Castle Theatre Company presents one of Shakespeare’s most hilarious comedies: The Comedy of Errors. Combining the farcical dilemmas of mistaken identity with the desperate search for love, this glorious play explores the blissful, chaotic and hysterical reunion of a long-lost family. Antipholus of Syracuse embarks on a journey alongside her right-hand man and trusted companion Dromio. However, both Antipholus and Dromio have identical long-lost twins that live in Ephesus, and, with neither twin-set knowing that the other exists, hilarious accidents ensue. The servants start working for the wrong masters, Antipholus of Syracuse runs into some risky business with Antipholus of Ephesus’ husband, and eventually, the townspeople grow suspicious – will the twins be able to reunite before they are declared mad?
What a legacy!
CTC has put on an annual outdoor Shakespeare tour since 1979 and we are so thrilled to be continuing that legacy this year. The Comedy of Errors is, despite its snappy title, not one of Shakespeare’s best-known works. Perhaps, one could say, for good reason. The virtually non-existent plot follows a host of bizarre characters over the course of one exuberantly chaotic day, with mistaken identities, seductions, arrests and an exorcism. And yet, there is a specific joyfulness and irreverence to the play that is rare in Shakespeare’s other works. Fundamentally, The Comedy of Errors is a play about connection. The themes of thwarted communication make it a celebration of human interaction, especially when contextualised against the events of the past few years. It is a play about togetherness.
Theatre, the highlight of my first year
I was privileged to be a cast member of Castle Theatre Company’s 2021 tour of All’s Well That Ends Well, and in fact, it was one of the only enjoyable experiences that I had in my entire first year at university. After the most brilliant fun traveling with faces that covid had postponed me from formally meeting earlier in the year, it was an opportunity not only to return to the stage but also to that sense of cast comradery and friendship. As a second year, I had a lot of experiences meeting faces that had been entirely virtual, and there was always that sense of awkwardness of properly meeting someone that you had never actually physically met, but of whom you certainly did know. These themes of loyalty and real and false relationships majorly influenced my decision for this year’s tour show. Not only is The Comedy of Errors one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, but it also seemed most applicable following a time when we became so accustomed to being forced and simplified into the social cubes of zoom life. These cubes that we got to know lent themselves to the confusion of character and thus helped to create farcical scenarios of mistaken identity. Nobody is correct in this play, and all the characters stagger around trying to make the best of an impossible situation – sound familiar? Alongside this, this performance is bestowed with the finest Durham talent that I have been so honoured and so humbled by. Both behind the scenes and onstage, every individual has excelled to provide this hilarious slapstick comedy, in a time where we all certainly need as many laughs as we can get! (I personally would not be keen to sit outside and watch Hamlet’s existentialism after the past two years, would you?).
Shakespeare’s huge emphasis on the use of slapstick comedy has made the reception of the piece timeless, with audiences in stitches from 1616 to (hopefully) you today in 2022! The Comedy of Errors is William Shakespeare’s shortest play and is traditionally set in the Greek city of Ephesus. However, our production takes place in a Mediterranean tourist trap so watch out for our socks and sandal combinations! We are looking forward to the next two weeks immensely as we share our silly Shakespeare production nationally and invite you all to come along, bring a picnic, watch, and laugh.
Tickets can be purchased from our website: https://www.castletheatrecompany.com/
See you there!