Shakespeare's high-jinks on display in Patten series 'Comedy of Errors'

Shakespeare's high-jinks on display in Patten series 'Comedy of Errors'

March 2nd, 2012 by Clint Cooper in Chattnow Art

IF YOU GO

What: "The Comedy of Errors."

When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Roland W. Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center, Vine and Palmetto streets.

Admission: $22 adults, $19 seniors, $15 students.

Phone: 425-4269.

Website: www.tickettracks.com.

"The Comedy of Errors," actor Sid Solomon said of the early William Shakespeare farce, is the original sitcom.

Solomon is one of 13 cast members in the Patten Performances series play that will be offered at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Sunday. He said the work is both "a great, heartfelt story with beautiful language" and "90 minutes of hilarious high-jinks."

The production was created by The Acting Company in association with The Guthrie Theatre.

Solomon portrays one of a pair of two sets of identical twins accidentally separated at birth. The subsequent action involves a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities, which lead to wrongful attacks, a near-seduction, an arrest and accusations of infidelity, theft, madness and demonic possession.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-born actor said company members feel fortunate in telling stories they believe so deeply in and in a way people can understand them.

Shakespeare, he said, is "not a scary thing meant for other people" but something that may be enjoyed by everyone.

The production uses original language in an edited version, but the design team's interpretation of the setting places it "in the visual landscape of the American 20th century."

He and his actor twin, for instance, are dressed as Charlie Chaplin-esque characters with long jackets, baggy pants and bowler hats. Other characters, he said, pay homage to Sophia Loren, Brigette Bardot, merchant sailors of the 1930s and 1940s, and "Guys and Dolls"-like wiseguys.

He describes it as "a very American telling of the story."

Shakespeare, he said, draws three-dimensional characters with a sense of humanity.

"You can't help but see they are real-life, living, breathing human beings," Solomon said.

And with "The Comedy of Errors," he said, The Bard also gets a "high-paced, frenetic" comedy where "everybody constantly is confused."

"When we get ready to leave the stage," Solomon said, "we're all drenched in sweat and ready to collapse. And the audience feeds off that energy."