ANDERSON, Ind. — Turn off your cell phone. There’s no such device where you’re going anyway.
When you step through the doors of Anderson’s Mainstage Theatre, you’ll walk back into Elizabethan England. You’ll be part of the crowd at Shakespeare’s Globe, gathered to see “The Comedy of Errors.”
Even if you don’t think Shakespeare’s your thing, plan to enjoy and to come away smiling from this early comedy by the Bard as directed by Karen Sipes. The work dates to 1594, but it’s timeless in its familiar if outlandish conundrums and slapstick antics. The cast delivers Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter conversationally and expressively, with crisp enunciation, making it easy to follow.
Sipes and her crew have carefully seen that the stage, the play, the costumes and the setting serve to transport us back to the day, yet deftly convey the comedic elements with which we cannot fail to connect. She implemented a number of delightful touches to lend sparkle and spontaneity to the work.
One of those devices is the character of the Jester - a wonderful invention played by Maggie Williams. The Jester never utters a line, but speaks volumes throughout the production. Clad in black and white, with the face of a mime, the Jester facilitates and punctuates the action with expressive faces and gestures.
The tale unfolds when Egeon, a merchant of Syracuse played by Bill Malone, is sentenced to death by the Duke of Ephesus (Rick Vale) for violating the ban against Syracusan travel into Ephesus. The Duke allows him a day to raise money to redeem himself from execution after hearing the sad tale that brought Egeon to Ephesus in search of a long-lost son and wife.
The comedy rests on the simple fare of mistaken identities. The son that Egeon raised, Antipholus of Syracuse (Elijah Dotson), also comes to Ephesus in search of his long-lost twin brother, who, unbeknownst to him, happens to be Antipholus of Ephesus (Gabe Porch).