EASLEY — For most, Shakespeare might seem a challenge but Easley Foothills Playhouse’s production of “Comedy of Errors” has a flavor for even the most casual theatre patron.
A light-hearted comedy about the relationships between men and women, this particular Shakespeare play might be centuries old but its theme was a centerpiece of Americana until the turbulent 1960’s brought about social change. Translated, 1950’s America Shakespeare style.
“For any playhouse, Shakespeare is a staple, it kind of has to be performed,” Director Anna DeVault said. “This play, which is very slap-stick and madcap, is a great comedy and after the hard hitting schedule so far this season we needed something lighter.”
Antipholous of Syracuse and Antipholous of Epheseus, twins in the story played by Cesar Lozada, create a stir after having been separated for some 25 years only to be thrown into the same city on circumstance alone. Twins, confusion, deception, and misunderstanding lead to comedic moments that transcend time, even in 1950’s Miami.
“Miami was personal for me. I remember going there in the 50’s with my parents and it was always so bright and vibrant,” DeVault said. “But, I hadn’t settled on the location for the play until auditions and Cesar’s accents worked perfectly. I knew then it had to be 1950’s Miami.”
Lozada, originally from Venezuela, came to the United States six years ago to teach middle school Spanish in Charleston and has lived in Greenville the last two years where he has also performed light opera.
The twist for Lozada in “Comedy of Errors”? One twin speaks with a Spanish accent, his brother English.
“Shakespeare is a challenge, it doesn’t matter what time period you set it in,” Lozada said of the play. “Before I auditioned for this play all I could remember of Shakespeare was what I had read in college and even then it was that I had read it, not necessarily remembered it.”
Lozada believes he knows now why that — remembering Shakespeare after college — was such a difficult task.
“It has to be seen for it to make sense, I think,” he said. “When you read the play, you don’t see the facial expressions and reactions the actors put into the characters. When you see how the characters act along to the words, it all comes together.”
The 1950’s were a period of prosperity in America but underneath the surface was a growing need to get out from behind the stove for the average housewife, and even if there are no electrical appliances in “Comedy of Errors,” the themes should be recognizable.
“I think the 1950’s make this play very relevant, at least that time period does,” DeVault said. “It wouldn’t be a good fit for present day, because so much has changed. In the 1950’s there were a lot of these relationship issues that Shakespeare so pointedly brings out here.”
“Comedy of Errors” opens at Easley Foothills Playhouse at 8 p.m. March 28. The run dates also include March 29, March 30, April 4, April 5 and April 6. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. with Sundays’ scheduled as a matinee beginning at 3 p.m.