Entrances, Exits, and Errors.

This year for its annual Shakespeare in the Park event the Nashville Shakespeare Festival is putting on A Comedy of Errors. So of course I walked down to Centennial Park on my lunch break to check out the set.

I went to a university with a highly respected theater program and went to see every play but the one thing I still regret not doing is sneaking in and taking a look behind the scenes. Not that there was ever that much to see, but I like to look at theater sets from the back, to see the inner workings, even when they’re not particularly complex. And I’m used to being in the audience so I like to get some idea of the view from the actors’ perspective, although in my limited acting experience it’s best to pretend the audience isn’t even there.

And with its hilariously tangled plot full of mistaken identities–it’s probably the closest thing to slapstick you’ll find in Shakespeare with a story about two pairs of twins who keep getting mixed up–it’s fitting to check out A Comedy of Errors from the other side.

shakespeare1   shakespeare2 shakespeare3 shakespeare4 shakespeare5 shakespeare6Given the topsy-turvy plot it’s also fitting that the stage has its own ersatz version of the world-famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.


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  1. Gilly Maddison

    Ooooh – a fellow behind the scenes fan! I love behind the scenes stuff – especially funfairs out of season! Or better still derelict funfairs and theatres! Thanks for the peek behind the scenes.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s funny you mention out of season funfairs because a few years ago I arrived early at the Tennessee State Fair and took pictures of the deserted rides. They had an eerie quality with no one around. I should share those sometime. But seeing behind the scenes is always interesting.

  2. Ann Koplow

    Thanks for taking us behind the scenes, Chris. Much appreciated!

    There’s lots of Shakespeare to see at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. On our first day here we went to see an amazing all-singing all-dancing urban version of Macbeth that beautifully preserved much of the original writing, the spirit, and the plot of the Scottish play. Aaron said, “I can’t imagine seeing a better production of Macbeth,” and while I think his imagination might be limited by the fact that he is 18 years old, I think that comment lets you know how fabulous it was. While we probably won’t get a peek behind the scenes of the productions here, we do get to meet the performers when they are out on the Royal Mile trying to convince people to come see their productions and also after the shows.

    I can’t imagine you not loving the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and I have a pretty good imagination.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for sharing that, especially the production of MacBeth which sounds incredible. And I believe Aaron that it’s hard to imagine seeing a better production because it seems to be a very difficult play to put on. It’s supposed to be a tragedy but it’s so intense at times it can easily cross over into being campy. I saw a production in Britain that tried to be serious but was so ridiculous the audience laughed at the murder of Lady MacDuff and her son.
      It didn’t help that before the play there was a young woman in the lobby performing a one-woman version of Medea that was absolutely incredible.
      Anyway someday I hope to attend the Fringe.

  3. Mrs Fancy-Pants

    I haven’t read/seen that particular play, the only one of Shakespeare’s comedies I’ve read was A Midsummer Nights Dream which I wasn’t a big fan of. I like the more nasty, nearly-everyone-dies works like Macbeth and Othello, especially Macbeth 😉

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Or Hamlet, right? It’s not as bloody as the Scottish play but pretty much everyone dies in Hamlet too. Although the tragedies have their share of comedy too which is why I’ve heard it said that the only difference between Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies is that in the tragedies everyone dies and in the comedies everyone gets married.
      Anyway A Comedy of Errors has to be seen. You could try to read it but with two pairs of twins and everybody having similar names it’s hard to follow on the page and just fun to watch.


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