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Pixelated woman with heavy makeup, spiky short hair and wearing a sparkly jumpsuit holding out her hand to her own reflection.

‘Unforgettably poignant and hilarious’: The Comedy of Errors runs until March 31

Students take on Shakespearian mistaken-identity comedy

March 24, 2024 — 

The next production of the Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media’s Theatre Program runs March 27 – 31. Support student theatre – get your $10 ticket today.

A man arrives in a new city to find that everyone knows his name, but thinks he’s someone else. A woman claims to be his wife but he’s never met her and her sister is extremely appealing. His servant has the unwelcome task of running interference between a defiant master and a handful of citizens who are increasingly incensed by the outrageous behaviour of a man they thought they knew. When the shenanigans finally resolve, a tragedy has transformed into love and delight. Such is the plot of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.

Group of students in a theatre rehearsal space, holding scripts.

Cast of The Comedy of Errors in rehearsal. Credit: Sam Fergus

Believed to be one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, this comedy about separated family and mistaken identity is unforgettably poignant and hilarious. Based on the Roman comedies that Shakespeare studied as a schoolboy, the comic setups are thousands of years old and elevated to new heights in the hands of the Bard.

UM faculty member and play director Dr. Katrina Dunn, explains that because the play is one of Shakespeare’s earliest and shortest, it is a good fit for a student production. “It is a great opportunity for our students, many of whom are performing Shakespeare for the first time, to experience his brilliance and see how he borrowed from others to begin to develop his own style.”

In these productions, undergraduate students studying theatre work together demonstrating their course-learned skills onstage, backstage and through promotion. The experience not only produces a full theatrical production for audiences to enjoy, but also provides hands-on experience to the students that helps them learn the ins-and-outs of working in the world of theatre. “All plays, and especially this one, teach students to work in relationship and in ensemble” shared Dr. Dunn. “Students practice being present with focus, listening and reacting, and collaborating in a very nuanced way with others. This is great healing work after the isolation of the pandemic.”

To make this production fresh for audiences, the action is set in a high fashion house of mirrors to highlight the play’s fascination with image and identity. Dr. Dunn promises much fun will be had with nods to the runway and plenty of flashy music and lights. The cast of twenty talented students will bring to life a story where style is commodity, image is identity, and your reflection could take over your life.

Tickets are $10.00 plus Eventbrite fees and can be purchased online. You can also follow along with the theatre students on Instagram as they prepare for the production @thecomedyoferrors_uofm.

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Dr. Katrina Dunn

March 27 – March 31, 2024
John J. Conklin Theatre, Gail Asper Performing Arts Hall
150 Dafoe Road, West Tache Arts Complex, UM Fort Garry campus

Wednesday to Friday – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday – 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday – 2:00 p.m.
Runtime is 80 minutes.

Design credits: Costume design by Karen Schellenberg. Set design by Chance Sabados. Lighting design by Brenda Vaca. Sound design by Oluwatomisin Akintokun. Promotional design by Joseph Ogbonnaya.


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