High Energy 'Comedy of Errors' from Summit Players
The Sun was just beginning to set as the Summit Players lined up in their matching black shirts and blue jeans to take questions after their performance of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. A young girl, perched on the edge of a wooden bench in the Havenwoods State Forest amphitheater, raised her hand and asked, “Why do you all wear the same shoes?”
The rainbow of matching Converse is a wardrobe staple for the cast. Dashing around the outdoor stage and switching costumes in the blink of an eye, the high-energy performance keeps not only actors but audience members as well on their toes.
Condensed to about an hour, the cast of six flew through a shortened adaptation of The Comedy of Errors on a cool, breezy evening last Friday. The free show breathed life into a Shakespeare classic and made it enjoyable for all ages. Summit Players incorporate just enough audience interaction to engage the crowd, but not so much as to make it unenjoyable for older crowds. Viewers were given fair warning that the players would travel through the aisles; they did that and more. Instead of completely getting lost in dialogue on the stage, the players took turns speaking directly to the audience, especially to a small group of children in the front row. A few characters burst into the crowd and sat on the benches with audience members as part of the act. At one point, the players paraded around the amphitheater with kazoos.
But the nature of the play wasn’t lost on modern adaptation. Classic vests and elegant dresses overlaid the players’ base T-shirts and jeans to create classic Shakespearean outfits in a pinch. There were no out-of-place 21st-century quirks that the actors included to make things “relatable” to younger crowds (I once saw an adaptation of Hamlet where Hamlet came on stage with an iPod; this was nothing like that). Instead, Summit Players relied on energy and audience engagement to create a spectacular show. With the golden sunset shimmering as they bounced on and off the stage, Summit Players beautifully combined two staples of summer leisure: Shakespearian theater and the outdoors.