I Am Error: A Fun Romp in Ephesus
When I went to see the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival's Comedy of Errors at The ARTS at Mark's Garage on opening night, two things were certain: I was not in a Chinatown I knew anymore (lots of changes), and Antipholus and Dromio (Dan Connell and Kirk A. Lapilio Jr.) were not in a Syracuse that they knew anymore. Or were they? And with that, Comedy of Errors leaps into action.
A simple story: Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse arrive at the city of Ephesus, which has an Antipholus and Dromio of its very own (Connor Lawhorn and Nygell Katsuhisa Halvorson, respectively), both of whom look exactly like their Syracusan dopplegangers. Thus, merry mix-ups between the citizens of Ephesus and the Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse-- or was it Ephesus?-- occur and no one knows quite who they're seeing anymore.
This was a very brisk romp, for once the play broke out of its mandatory exposition in the first 5 minutes, William Shakespeare sets his characters loose in the city and immediately the mixed identities and missed connections start happening. Volume was sometimes difficult, and the cast could have enunciated for better clarity, but these things did not weigh it down as the comedy kept coming. There are a lot of jokes, gags, wordplay, and physical sequences and most of them had the audience rolling; there were only a few that felt like the cast members who performed them didn't own them, almost like they were "manufactured."
Don't get me wrong- this cast was hilarious. The cast all had their shining moments and played their parts nicely, but togetherness was where their real strength lied. Of note, Lawhorn's Antipholus was very articulate and communicative, and thus became the Antipholus I wanted to see more often. Claire Fallon as Antipholus of Ephesus' wife, Adriana, wielded her emotions like she controlled the weather as she started to piece together the story of the two Antipholus, allowing herself to storm through a scene or brighten and warm up the situation, all to her liking and it was a marvel to watch. CJ Valle as Angela the Goldsmith was quiet, but had some of the best reactions of the show.
Iris Kim's costumes were fantastic- we were transported to the Roaring Twenties thanks to her costumes and Shirley Kagan's sound design and most important, direction. The set by Justin Fragiao was simple, and allowed its actors to really own the stage. Cora Yamagata's lighting sometimes took me out of the Roaring Twenties vibe that the other designers worked on with this multi-colored disco ball-like strobe that was sometimes played during transitions and the intro to the act.
Come prepared to do double takes and laugh as Comedy of Errors runs through this weekend.