The Comedy of Errors
Photos by Manuel Harlan
The Comedy of Errors is a slapstick farce, and being coupled with Propeller’s psycho chilling ‘Richard III’, we went went for broke! The overarching idea was that Ephesus was conceived as an 18-30 holiday island where anyone can pose as anything, and so that when identities are genuinely mistaken through the confusion of two sets of twins unknowingly interchanging their lives… it’s just more fall out from a very bad hang over.
When we played in New York, at the talk-back after the first performance, I was asked why I had dressed these badly behaved characters as Hispanic drop outs, and wasn’t that just a bit xenophobic! I had to apologise for the culture clash and explain that in England, boys on Mediterranean stag nights (bachelor parties) tended to wear rubber sandals, soccer shirts and buy sombreros, only to be embarrassed by it all on the flight home. A sobering lesson that I should never take the exporting of humour for granted.
Following our logic of deceit, all the clothes had to look fake, theatrical, transforming.It ended up a multi-coloured pallet that contrasted with the monochrome of Richard III, an eclectic mix only bound together by the idea that the clothes, like the base of the set, should be blue(ish) from the waist down. The impression was that there was a hint of Adriatic Sea flowing through the evening.
Achieving a genuine feel for the graffiti on the perforated metal shutters was an interesting process. After some discussion with Propeller Production Manager, Nick Ferguson, we were convinced that a scenic artist might not quite have the cutting edge. The artwork had been collaged from photographs of walls in Athens – I had hoped therefore that the words might be illegible for most of the audience. I twisted and reversed some of it just to make certain. I still had to convince the artist who finally painted the shapes, that I had not stolen someone’s tag and was initiated into the lore of graffiti and honour amongst its artists.