Friday, February 12, 2010

A Comedy of Errors in Chicago

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After receiving an invitation to take my family to see the premiere of the Short Shakespeare version of The Comedy of Errors at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, I floated the ideas by my boys, ages 9 and 11. The nine-year-old jumped at the idea.

The 11 year-old took some convincing.

Once he acquiesced, I realized that a schedule conflict prevented him from seeing the play, after all. A comedy of errors, indeed.

It was my first time inside this lovely theater in the round and my son. As my son and I looked around excitedly waiting for the show to begin, I took a minute to brief him on the show's complicated story line. In a nutshell it's about two sets of identical twins separated early in life that unexpectedly and hilariously reunited years later.

The Bard's original play has been cleverly re-imagined as a 75-minute Depression era traveling WPA show. This may sound odd when you read it, at least it sounded odd to me, but it worked.

I was delighted to see my son on the edge of his seat as he watched the story unfold. As a smile broke out on my face, he turned to me and whispered, "I don't really understand what's going on, Mom."


The good news is that the play is so delightfully full of physical comedy that it almost didn't matter. Comedy of Errors is advertised as a play for ages 8 and up, but younger audiences will stay engaged by virtue of the fast paced action and physical antics even if the story confuses them.

The acting was top-notch, but performance aside, one of the highlights of our morning was the chance to talk with the cast afterward in a Q& A session. We also had the chance to mingle with the actors in the lobby after the Q&A, but someone was suddenly feeling shy, someone else had to pee and our stomachs were getting rumbly.

Looking for a bit of culture to warm your heart and soul on a drab wintry day? Head to an 11:00 performance of this show through March 6. Tickets are $20 per adult and $16 for children 12 and under. Group discounts are available.

Disclosure: My son and I attended a performance as guests of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

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