The Comedy of Errors - Colorado Shakespeare Festival

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The Comedy of Errors - Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Philip C.Sneed, Producing Artistic Director
Table of Contents
Plot Synopsis
Character Descriptions
Map
Meet the Author
Themes of the play
Production History
Critical Context:
1
2
2
3
4
5
6-7
Source Material
Twins
Dramaturg’s Note
Dictionary
Discussion Questions
Classroom Activities
Sources for Teachers
8
8
9
9
Editor: Amanda Giguere
Design and Layout: Daniel Leonard
Contributing Writers: Joe Bicknell, Jenn Lashley, Beth McGee, Amanda
Giguere & Anne Sandoe
© 2011
Plot
Synopsis
by Jenn Lashley
Act I
In the ancient city of Ephesus, Duke
Solinus holds Syracusan merchant
Egeon in custody, due to a rivalry
between Ephesus and Syracuse.
Egeon must pay a hefty fine or be
killed. The prisoner explains that
twenty years earlier, he lost his wife,
twin son, and twin servant in a
shipwreck. Egeon raised the remain-­
ing son and servant, and renamed
them Antipholus and Dromio, in
memory of their missing twins. Duke
Solinus pities Egeon and grants him
time to find the fee. Unaware of
Egeon’s arrival in Ephesus or his
plight, Antipholus and Dromio of
Syracuse (Antipholus-­S. and
Dromio-­S.) are also in Ephesus in
search of their brothers. Antipholus-­S.
sends Dromio-­S. to the inn. When
Dromio of Ephesus (Dromio-­E.) meets
his “master” (Antipholus-­S.), confu-­
sion and hilarity begin.
Act II
Act IV
Adriana, wife to Antipholus of Ephe-­
sus (Antipholus-­E.), awaits her
husband for lunch with her sister
Luciana. Dromio-­E. arrives to relay
his encounter with Antipholus-­S., who
denied having a wife or a home in
Ephesus. Adriana is hurt and fears
that her husband is cheating.
Antipholus-­S. and Dromio-­S. are
greeted by Adriana and Luciana, who
mistake them for their Ephesian
counterparts, and they agree to dine
with the ladies.
When Angelo returns to collect
payment, which he needs to settle a
debt, Antipholus-­E. denies receiving
the chain, and is arrested. Dromio-­S.
arrives and Antipholus-­E. sends him
home for bail from Adriana.
Dromio-­S. stumbles upon
Antipholus-­S. and mistakenly gives
him the bail money. Adding to the
bewilderment, a courtesan approaches
Antipholus-­S. and demands the chain.
Believing she is a temptress, the men
escape. The courtesan flees to Adriana
and reports that Antipholus is mad.
Guarded by the officer, Antipholus-­E.
meets Dromio-­E., from whom he
expects the bail. He beats Dromio-­E.
for not having it, while Adriana and
onlookers believe he is possessed.
Both Ephesian men are bound and
removed. Antipholus-­S. and
Dromio-­S. then enter, swords drawn,
which scares everyone away.
Act III
Antipholus-­E., the merchant Balthasar,
and Angelo discuss the gold chain
Angelo is making for Antipholus-­E.
He and Dromio-­E. reach their door,
but find it locked, with Dromio-­S.,
whom neither knows, inside mocking
them. Balthasar convinces the fuming
Antipholus-­E. to dine at his house.
Meanwhile, Antipholus-­S. is alone
with Luciana, who pleads with him to
keep any affair quiet. Antipholus-­S. is
quickly smitten with Luciana. After
lunch, Angelo finds Antipholus-­S
alone and delivers the chain, but
refuses payment for the moment.
Let me get this straight...
There are FOUR twins in this play? And both sets of twins share the same name? Thank you very much, Shakespeare. It’s helpful to think about the twins in ďĂƐĞďĂůůƚĞƌŵƐ͗ƚŚĞƌĞŝƐƚŚĞǀŝƐŝƟŶŐƚĞĂŵ
and the home team. The play is set and Ephesus, so the home team consists of ŶƟƉŚŽůƵƐĂŶĚƌŽŵŝŽŽĨƉŚĞƐƵƐ͘dŚĞ
ǀŝƐŝƟŶŐƚĞĂŵŝƐĨƌŽŵ^LJƌĂĐƵƐĞ͕ĂŶĚƚŚĞLJ
have landed in Ephesus in search of their ůŽŶŐͲůŽƐƚƚǁŝŶƐ͘dŚĞǀŝƐŝƟŶŐƚĞĂŵĐŽŶƐŝƐƚƐ
ŽĨŶƟƉŚŽůƵƐĂŶĚƌŽŵŝŽŽĨ^LJƌĂĐƵƐĞ͘
Yes, it’s sort of like baseball, except both ƚĞĂŵƐĂƌĞǁĞĂƌŝŶŐƚŚĞƐĂŵĞƵŶŝĨŽƌŵƐ͕
which causes some confusion. Act V
Angelo and the merchant encounter
Dromio-­S. and Antipholus-­S., who
wears the gold chain, and they all
draw swords. When Adriana and the
others approach, the Syracusan men
escape into the convent. The Abbess
refuses anyone admittance, and allows
the men sanctuary. After listening to
Adriana’s tale, the Abbess insists she
will return the men’s sanity. The Duke
enters with Egeon and Adriana pleads
for help. Soon Antipholus-­E. and
Dromio-­E. enter and entreat the Duke
for justice. Egeon thinks he recognizes
the men, and more bafflement results.
The Abbess reenters, recognizes Egeon
as her lost husband, and reveals
herself as Emilia, his wife. Both sets of
twins are reunited, and the confusion
is resolved with feasting and merri-­
ment.
1
Character
Descriptions
by Anne Sandoe
Solinus The Duke of Ephesus. He must enforce the current law imposing a death sentence on any citizen of Syracuse found
in Ephesus.
Egeon A merchant of Syracuse who has come to Ephesus in search of his lost sons.
Antipholus of Ephesus One of the twin sons of Egeon, separated as a baby from his parents, now living in Ephesus for
many years and married to Adriana.
Antipholus of Syracuse: The other twin son to Egeon, who has come to Ephesus in search of his long lost brother.
Dromio of Ephesus: Twin to Dromio of Syracuse, separated from his brother as a baby, and now a servant to Antipholus
of Ephesus.
Dromio of Syracuse: Twin to Dromio of Ephesus, separated from his brother as a child, now a servant to
Antipholus of Syracuse.
Balthazar: A Merchant of Ephesus
Angelo: A Goldsmith of Ephesus
Dr. Pinch: A Schoolmaster and a Conjurer
Emilia: Abbess at Ephesus (with a secret surprise in store)
Adriana: Wife to Antipholus of Ephesus
Luciana: Sister to Adriana
Luce: Servant to Adriana
Courtesan: Shady lady of Ephesus
Epidamnum
Ephesus
Corinth
Syracuse
by Anne Sandoe
Epidarus
Ephesus -­ scene of the Play
Syracuse -­ home of Egeon et. al
Epidamnum -­ where Egeon often sailed to
conduct business
Corinth -­where the ship came from which
Egeon thinks saved his wife and two boys
with her.
Epidarus -­ where the ship came from which
saved Egeon and the other two boys
2
William Shakespeare
by Joe Bicknell
Based upon baptismal records, scholars
believe that William Shakespeare was
born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-­
upon-­Avon, Warwickshire. He died on
that same date, April 23, in 1616, in the
community of his birth. His body was
interred in the chancel of the Holy
Trinity Church in Stratford, where his
tomb can be viewed today. Varying
amounts are known about Shakespeare’s
life in the intervening years.
accused of poaching from the estate of
the wealthy Sir Thomas Lucy, said to be
the later object of satire in Merry Wives of
Windsor. From the time of Shakespeare’s
leaving Stratford, until he re-­surfaced as
an actor in London in 1592, almost
nothing is known. It is also at about that
time that the authorities closed the
theaters due first to riots, and then to the
plague. They remained closed for two
years, until 1594.
The Early Years
It is also about this time that it appears
that Shakespeare first published his
verse, including Venus and Adonis,
Lucrece, and the sonnets. Publishing was
still in its infancy at this time, as literacy
was beginning to increase among the
middle class. So it clearly was a depar-­
ture from his already growing reputation
as a playwright – and likely a way to try
to supplement his income while the
theaters were closed.
William Shakespeare was the son of John
Shakespeare and Mary Arden. Mary
came from a prominent Warwickshire
family, something that no doubt helped
her husband gain a number of local
political positions, in addition to being a
glove maker and tanner. It is likely that
young William, the third-­born of the
family, attended the best grammar
school in the area, since, as an Alderman,
John Shakespeare was entitled to free
public education for his children. It was
here, at King Edward IV Grammar
School in Stratford that it is believed the
playwright learned much of the history,
language and geography that form the
backdrop for many of his plays.
At eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway,
the daughter of well-­known and pros-­
perous land owner in Warwickshire, a
woman eight years his senior. Six
months later, their first daughter,
Susanna was born. Twins Hamnet and
Judith soon followed in February 1585.
Hamnet later died at age eleven, which
affected Shakespeare deeply. Both
Susanna and Judith, as well as Anne,
survived Shakespeare and were men-­
tioned in his Last Will and Testament.
The Move To
London
It appears that Shakespeare left Stratford
in 1584, and under cloudy circumstances.
His father had run into both financial
and political difficulties (some suggest
because of his continuing Roman Catho-­
lic sympathies), and there is some
evidence that the young man had been
himself in Stratford by the year 1596. In
1597 he purchased a house and gardens,
New Place, in Chapel Street in Stratford.
It was to this home that, in about 1510,
Shakespeare returned from London.
Though there is evidence that several of
his last plays were written while in
Stratford, he seemed to have lived the
life of a retired gentleman, engaging
himself in local affairs, as well as in the
lives of his surviving children. Both had
married: Susanna to a local, well-­
regarded Stratford physician and Judith,
but two months before Shakespeare’s
death, to a local vintner.
It may well have been in response to this
nuptial that Shakespeare drafted his Last
Will and Testament on March 25, 1616.
The document, seemingly prepared in
haste, with many erasures and editions,
contains three of the only six known true
signatures of William Shakespeare.
Other than a fragment of a play called Sir
From 1594 onward, Shakespeare worked Thomas More, a collaboration with one or
as a playwright and performer for the
more other Renaissance playwrights of
acting company, Lord Pembroke’s Men uncertain identity, nothing exists in
and later Lord Chamberlain’s Men. At
Shakespeare’s actual hand.
the accession of James I, in 1603, upon
the death of Elizabeth I, the Lord
Chamberlain’s Men became known as
The King’s Men. The records are clear
William Shakespeare died on April 23,
that Shakespeare’s company was the
1616, at the age of 52 years. Despite his
most favored at Court, with more
numerous performances than any other fame and good fortune, in reality, most
of Shakespeare’s plays were never
company for a king who loved the
published during his lifetime. In 1623,
theater even more that his predecessor,
several of Shakespeare’s partners in the
Elizabeth, also an avid fan of
Shakespeare’s work. It is likely because King’s Men acting company, and some
of this royal interest and patronage that associated publishers, published the First
Folio of Shakespeare’s works, the first
Shakespeare prospered in the theater
world of London, becoming part owner publication of over half of the known
works of Shakespeare. It was done to try
of several theaters, including the Globe
and the Black Friar’s Theater, as well as to capitalize on the continuing fame of
retaining a financial stake in the various Shakespeare’s works, especially among
companies for whom be both wrote and the rising middle class. The publication
of the First Folio highlights the great
acted.
success Shakespeare had enjoyed, not
only commercially, but also artistically.
His plays carried important messages for
the audiences of his day, but they also
speak to lovers of theater and great
Because of the ensuing financial success
literature of all times and places.
and widespread acclaim as a royal
favorite, Shakespeare was able to redeem
Death and the First
Folio
The Return to
Stratford
3
Themes of the play
by Amanda Giguere and Jenn Lashley
Identity
On the surface, this is simply a play about mistaken identity:
two sets of twins get themselves into trouble when they unwit-­
tingly find themselves in the same city. If we dig deeper,
however, questions bubble to the surface about identity and
self-­discovery. The characters in this play are all asking, in one
form or another, “Who am I?” Egeon and Antipholus of
Syracuse strive to answer that question by finding their missing
pieces—they seem to believe that by recovering their family
members, they will be made whole again. To what extent do
you define yourself by your loved ones? When the characters
emerge from the confusion of the play, and find themselves
reunited with their missing
family members, have they
clarified their identities?
within that house. The Syracusians stay at an inn called the
Centaur. The centaur, a half-­man, half-­horse, is caught
between two natures;; as the Syracusians grapple with
identity questions, the Centaur seems an apt lodging. The
Porpentine, or porcupine, is a seemingly harmless animal
until provoked, and then its quills can do damage. The
Courtesan resides at the Porpentine;; this name seems to fit,
especially when she becomes a danger to Antipholus of
Ephesus because she feels slighted. This transformative
pattern continues when Solinus references “Circe’s cup,” a
goddess known for transforming men into beasts with wine.
I to the world
am like a drop
of water
Illusions
The characters are forced to ask
themselves whether they can
trust their own eyes and ears.
They experience one thing, and
then someone denies it happens.
How do we know what is real?
Can we trust our perception of
reality? Shakespeare seems to
ruminate on the nature of
illusion—and it’s fitting that he
does so through theatre, an art
form that requires actors to
“become” someone else.
That in the
ocean seeks
another drop.
Searching for
the Missing Piece
Many of the characters in The Comedy of Errors
are on a quest for something they have lost—the twins to find
their other halves, a father to find his sons, and a wife to restore
her marriage. When you lose something valuable, the search
can seem fruitless. You look in all the wrong places, and retrace
your steps to no avail. It is usually when you stop looking that
you find the missing item (and frequently, you find much more
than you bargained for). To what extent to the characters stop
searching in the play? How does the comedy that derives from
mistaken identity distract the characters from their various
quests?
Errors is…
FUN FACTS The Comedy of ͻ^ŚĂŬĞƐƉĞĂƌĞ͛ƐƐŚŽƌƚĞƐƚƉůĂLJ͕ĂƚŽŶůLJϭ͕ϳϴϲůŝŶĞƐ(compare this to Hamlet’s 4,024 lines)
ͻĂůŽŶŐǁŝƚŚ The Tempest, one of the two Shakespeare plays to ĨŽůůŽǁƚŚĞŶĞŽĐůĂƐƐŝĐĂůƵŶŝƟĞƐ͗ƚŚĞĂĐƟŽŶƵŶĨŽůĚƐŝŶĂƐŝŶŐůĞ
ĚĂLJ͕ĂŶĚƚĂŬĞƐƉůĂĐĞŝŶĂƐŝŶŐůĞůŽĐĂƟŽŶ;ƉŚĞƐƵƐͿ͘
ͻϴϳйǀĞƌƐĞ͖ϭϯйƉƌŽƐĞ
ͻƚŚĞŽŶůLJ^ŚĂŬĞƐƉĞĂƌĞƉůĂLJǁŝƚŚ͞ĐŽŵĞĚLJ͟ŝŶƚŚĞƟƚůĞ͘
Transformation
Several locations in the play are named after creatures of
transformation: the Phoenix, the Centaur and the Porpentine.
The Phoenix, the home of Antipholus and Adriana in Ephesus,
is a bird that rises up from the ash and is reborn. The metaphor
of a phoenix rising from the ash sheds light on the marriage
ͻŽŶĞŽĨƚŚĞĞŝŐŚƚĞĞŶ^ŚĂŬĞƐƉĞĂƌĞƉůĂLJƐƚŚĂƚĮƌƐƚappeared in ƉƌŝŶƚŝŶƚŚĞϭϲϮϯ&ŝƌƐƚ&ŽůŝŽ͘
ͻŽŶƐŝĚĞƌĞĚĂŶ͞ĂƉƉƌĞŶƟĐĞĐŽŵĞĚLJ͘͟/ƚ͛ƐŽŶĞŽĨShakespeare’s early plays, and it relies heavily on physical comedy and verbal humor.
4
Production History
by Anne Sandoe
The first confirmed performance of the The Comedy of Errors was on December 28th, 1594. It first appeared in print in 1623 as
part of the First Folio.
The shortest and most slapstick of Shakespeare’s plays, it has been adapted into several unique versions, including one staged
in the 1980’s at the Lincoln Center by the Flying Karamazov Brothers. It’s been adapted into three operas, in 1786, 1819, and
1855, and four musical versions, starting with The Boys from Syracuse, by Rodgers and Hart in 1938 and most recently, a
hip-­hop version in 2001. A film adaptation, Big Business, starred Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin.
Colorado Shakespeare festival Production History
The Comedy of Errors has been staged six times previously
at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival—first in 1962,
directed by Albert Nadeau. That production had one actor
to play both Antipholus twins, and one actor play both
Dromio twins. In the final scene, when both sets of twins
appear on stage at the same time, servants carried
T-­shaped poles with two hats attached for each set of
brothers and the actors would stand under one hat and
then the other as they portrayed their own twins.
The second CSF production was staged fourteen years
later in 1976, then in 1983, 1991, and 1999. The most
recent production, just seven years ago in 2004, featured
Geoffrey Kent, a current member of the Resident Acting
Company, playing both of the Antipholus twins, (though
on the cast list, Kerne Fogfeyt was listed as one of the
twins—a scrambled version of Kent’s name!) A double
was employed in the final scene so that both twins could
appear at the same time, which seemed more successful
with audiences than “hat trick” in the 1962 production. (At
right, Ryan Spickard, Geoffrey Kent and Jake Hart in the
2004 production)
5
Critical Context
by Amanda Giguere
Shakespeare’s
Source Material
Shakespeare was fond of “borrowing” plots from existing
plays, stories, and folklore. The Comedy of Errors was based
on a Roman comedy The Menaechmi, written by the play-­
wright Plautus (c. 254-­184 BCE). Plautus’ play is about a
pair of long-­lost twins who stir up confusion when they find
themselves in the same city. Shakespeare made several
changes in The Comedy of Errors, which amped up the humor
and fleshed out some of the characters.
What did Shakespeare change?
Added a second set of twins
Expanded Adriana’s character
Invented Luciana, the sister
Included the Egeon/Emilia storyline
Shakespeare also borrowed from other sources in writing
The Comedy of Errors, including another play by Plautus
called Amphitruo, and the Latin romance, Apollonius of Tyre
(for the Emilia/Egeon storyline). He was also influenced by
Italian comedy of his time known as “commedia dell’arte,”
an improvisational form that made use of stock characters,
comic bits, and clever servants.
Twins in Shakespeare
The Comedy of Errors is not the only Shakespeare play to
feature twins. His comedy Twelfth Night also includes a
set of twins: Viola and her brother Sebastian. Shake-­
speare himself was father to twins, Hamnet and Judith.
Below is a list of some of the fascinating language
Shakespeare uses to describe twins:
“the one so like the other,
as could not be distinguish’d but by names”
“An apple, cleft in two, is not more twin
than these two creatures.”
“Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother”
“One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons,
A natural perspective, that is and is not!”
“One of these men is genius to the other.
And so, of these, which is the natural man
And which the spirit? Who deciphers them?”
“We came into the world like brother and brother,
And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.”
Activity: Can you come up with another way to describe
a twin?
6
Dramaturg’s Note
The Dualistic History of Ephesus
by Jenn Lashley
In writing The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare borrowed
from the Roman comedy The Menaechmi by Plautus.
While Plautus’ play took place in Epidamnus, Shake-­
speare switched the location to Ephesus. He likely chose
Ephesus because of its importance as a major port city, yet
Ephesus’ rich history of intrigue, dualism, and myth
further bolstered Shakespeare’s creation of the world of
the play.
Located in modern-­day Turkey, Ancient Ephesus was
successively controlled by Greece, the Persian Empire,
Alexander the Great and his successors, and Rome. The
ever-­shifting leadership undoubtedly added to the
schizophrenic nature of the city. Intertwining Pagan,
Christian, Greek and Jewish influences form Ephesus’
history, which is compounded in Comedy by
Shakespeare’s musings on perception, rivalry, and ques-­
tions of identity. The changing politics and customs with
each new ruler surely left Ancient Ephesians questioning
their identity much like Antipholus does, creating an apt
setting for the play.
As Comedy opens, we learn of a rivalry, imagined by Shakespeare, between Ephesus and Syracuse. No historical evidence
supports that a feud existed between these cities, but a dark side of Ephesian history makes the idea of an enmity plausible. When
the Roman Republic overtook Ephesus in the 2nd century B.C.E, it imposed high taxes based on the new Sicilian model (Sicily,
where Syracuse is located). The Ephesians had difficulty raising the money and began to lose their land to settle their debt with
the Romans. The Persian Prince Mithridates took advantage of the ill will toward Rome and incited the Ephesians to murder
anyone in Ephesus with Italian blood, which led to the slaughter of 80,000 – 150,000 Italians. An atrocity of this magnitude could
understandably create a rivalry between an Italian city and Ephesus. The duality that the Ephesians may have felt under Roman
and Persian control is enhanced by Shakespeare’s invented rivalry within Comedy.
Shakespeare’s choice of Ephesus is also significant because it was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the
Temple of Artemis. Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, virginity, and childbirth, was the twin sister of Apollo (another twin
connection between the city and the play), and the temple functioned as a place of refuge for those needing safety in Ephesus. We
see this idea reflected in the priory where Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse seek sanctuary. The Abbess of the priory is a
combination of two different mothers: a Mother Superior, head of the convent, and also the biological mother of the Antipholus
twins. The double-­sided nature of the Abbess is likewise reflected in Ephesian legend. The Catholic Marian myth states that after
the death of Jesus, Mary traveled to Ephesus, where she spent the remainder of her life. Both the Pagan Goddess of virginity and
childbirth and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are woven together into Ephesus’s dualistic legacy, serving as fertile ground for
Shakespeare’s tale of doubles.
Ephesian history, rife with ever-­changing conquerors, internal strife, and roots in both Pagan and Christian ideology create an
ideal setting for Comedy. Shakespeare likely knew of the city’s intriguing past and manipulated Ephesian legend to enhance his
characters’ quest for identity. As his characters search for a sense of self, the echoes of Ephesus’ past mirror the sentiment of the
twins, creating yet another layer of duality.
7
Dictionary
Compiled by Beth McGee
Avaunt|“uh vahnt”|: away!
Carcanet|“car kin nut”|: A jeweled necklace
Certes|“sir tees” or “sirtz”|: Certainly
Churl|“cherl”|: A rude, ill-­bred person
Confiscate|“con fih skate”|: Taken by authorities
Coxcomb|“cox comb”|: Fool (the hat that a fool wears)
Cozenage|“cuh zuh nidge”|: Fraud;; cheating
Dainties|“dain teez”|: Pleasantries
“Finds His Vein”|: finds his disposition
Flouting|“flou ting”|: Treat with contemptuous
disregard
Genius|“jean yus”|: Attendant spirit
Halberds|“hal birds”|: 16th century battle axe with a pike
on a 6-­foot handle
Haply|“hap lee”|: By chance
Intestine|“in tes tin”|: Violent
Maw|“mah”|: Stomach
Mountebank|“mount tih bank”|: Quack doctors that
hawk their remedies
Patch|“patch”|: A fool, such as a Harlequin, who
wears patches
Perdy|“per dee”|: From the French pardieu (“by God”);;
a weak oath
Respice Finem|“ray speak ey fee num”|: look to
your end
Sans|“sanz”|: From the French sans, “without”
Swart|“swort”|: Of dark complexion
Discussion Questions
Like Romeo and Juliet, this play ŚŝŐŚůŝŐŚƚƐĂĨĞƵĚďĞƚǁĞĞŶƚǁŽ
ŐƌŽƵƉƐ͘dŚĞƉŚĞƐŝĂŶƐĂŶĚƚŚĞ
Syracusians are at odds, and ŐĞŽŶ͛ƐůŝĨĞŝƐĂƚƌŝƐŬďĞĐĂƵƐĞŽĨ
the feud. What role does this ĨĞƵĚƉůĂLJƚŚƌŽƵŐŚŽƵƚƚŚĞƐƚŽƌLJ͍
ŽĞƐƚŚĞƚŚƌĞĂƚƌĞŵĂŝŶ
palpable, or does it dissipate? Furthermore, what do you make ŽĨƚŚĞĨĂĐƚƚŚĂƚŐĞŽŶĂƉƉĞĂƌƐ
ŽŶůLJŝŶƚŚĞďĞŐŝŶŶŝŶŐĂŶĚƚŚĞ
end?
WhatĐŚĂŶŐĞƐŝŶƚŚĞ
ƌĞůĂƟŽŶƐŚŝƉďĞƚǁĞĞŶĚƌŝĂŶĂ
and her husband by the end of ƚŚĞƉůĂLJ͍ŽLJŽƵŐĞƚƚŚĞƐĞŶƐĞ
that they have learned ƐŽŵĞƚŚŝŶŐŶĞǁĂďŽƵƚ
themselves—and each other?
When you see the play, consider ƚŚĞ͞ĐŚŽƌƵƐ͟ƚŚĂƚĂƉƉĞĂƌƐŽŶͲ
ƐƚĂŐĞĨŽƌŵŽƐƚŽĨƚŚĞĂĐƟŽŶ͘
What sorts of rules does the chorus establish for the play? tŚĞŶŝƐƚŚĞĐŚŽƌƵƐŝŶƚĞŐƌĂƚĞĚ
ŝŶƚŽƚŚĞĂĐƟŽŶ͍tŚĂƚƚŽŶĞĂƌĞ
ƚŚĞĚŝƌĞĐƚŽƌƐƚƌLJŝŶŐƚŽƐĞƚǁŝƚŚ
this chorus?
Voluble|“vahl you bul”|: Ready and/or rapid speech
Waftage|“waf tidge”|: passage
8
Classroom
Activities
Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Divide the class into pairs. These pairs are now “twins.” Facing each other, ask each set of twins to practice moving in perfect
unison. First, they should try simple gestures (raising one hand) and then move on to more complicated actions (shrugging
shoulders, tying a shoe, doing jumping jacks). After the activity, discuss with the class. What kind of focus does it require to
move in perfect unison with another person? What was the hardest action to get right?
Whirlwind Storytelling
In groups of five, attempt to tell the story of The Comedy of Errors in five sentences. Player One starts with a complete sentence.
Player Two picks up the story where the first left off…find a way to wrap up the whole story by the time Player Five has
completed his/her sentence.
I Wanna Write You a Letter
Write a letter from Emilia to her lost sons, written before the play begins. Imagine what happened after the ship split, and
develop a story about how she wound up as the Abbess. Consider how she might feel, knowing that her sons and husband are
lost to her forever.
Sources for
Teachers
Web Sources
‡2QOLQHWH[WRIWKHSOD\DYDLODEOHDWKWWSVKDNHVSHDUHPLWHGXFRPHG\BHUURUVIXOOKWPO
‡*OREHOLQN*OREH(GXFDWLRQ·V2QOLQH5HVRXUFH&HQWHU
http://www.globelink.org/resourcecentre/comedyoferrors1999/
Books
‡&KULVS3HWHUShakespeare. London: Eyewitness Books, 2002.
‡&U\VWDO'DYLGDQG%HQ&U\VWDOThe Shakespeare Miscellany. Woodstock: Overlook Press, 2005.
‡'DUOLQJ%HQMDPLQHGStories from Shakespeare. China: Green Tiger Press, 2010.
‡'XQWRQ'RZQHU/HVOH\DQG$ODQ5LGLQJThe Essential Shakespeare Handbook. London: DK
Publishing, 2004.
9
CSF Education would like to thank the following for their support
Blue Mountain Arts, Boulder Arts Commission, Center for the Study and Prevention of
Violence, Colorado Council on the Arts, CSF Guild, CU Outreach, Debra Ordway and Beyond
the Horizon, Inc., Elevations Federal Credit Union Foundation, President’s Fund for the
Humanities, Target Foundation, Riddle Family Foundation, Wyman Historic District
Neighborhood Association, Arts and Sciences Community Involvement (ASCI).
Contact info:
CSF Education
(303) 492-­1973
[email protected]
www.coloradoshakes.org/education-­outreach
CSF Box Office
(303) 492-­0554
www.coloradoshakes.org
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