Gregory Boyd, Artistic Director
Paul R. Tetreault, Managing Director
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
by William Shakespeare
Ready for Prime Time Players
SOLINUS, Duke of Ephesus......................James Belcher
EGEON, a traveler from Syracuse............... Charles Krohn
ANTIPHOLUS OF SYRACUSE, twin brother to Antipholus of Ephesus.... James Black
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS, his twin brother...................... James Black
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE, twin brother to Dromio of Ephesus........ John Tyson
DROMIO OF EPHESUS, his twin brother.......................... John Tyson
FIRST MERCHANT............................................. Luis Galindo
BALTHAZAR.................................................. Kevin Waldron
ADRIANA, wife to Antipholus- of Ephesus................... Annalee Jefferies
LUCIANA, her sister...................................... Elizabeth Heflin
ANGELO, a goldsmith....................................... Jamison Stern
SECOND MERCHANT.......................................... Luis Galindo
COURTESAN............................................... Amanda Ronconi
PINCH, a conjuror........................................ John Feltch
The OFFICER.......................................... Jason Douglas
The ABBESS........................................... Bettye Fitzpatrick
Townspeople, Soldiers, Nuns.......................... Kenneth Douglas, Kara Greenberg, Chanda Kay
Maria Sotolongo, Froilan Sotolongo, Julie Thornley, Rob Tegtmeier and the Company
Alley Theatre's Gregory Boyd Turns William Shakespeare's
"THE COMEDY OF ERRORS" Into a Rollicking Riot
by Theresa Pisula
I went in the Theatre expecting the old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill
Shakespearean piece, but instead I was entertained by Gregory Boyd's
interpretation of Shakespeare: Millennium Style. The Alley Theatre's
Ready for Prime Time Players: James Black, John Tyson, James Belcher,
Bettye Fitzpatrick, Charles Krohn, Annalee Jefferies, Elizabeth Heflin,
and John Feltch does Shakespeare like he's never been done before. This
brilliant Alley Theatre Cast had the audience rolling in the aisles as
they turned William Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" into a rollicking riot.
Just like watching Phoebe of the Friends Show and Phoebe the Porn Star,
James Black plays the dual character of Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus
of Ephesus, as does John Tyson who plays Dromio of Syracuse and and his
twin brother, Dromio of Ephesus. I found certain instances of Cross
Dressing quite amusing, James Belcher as the wailing female whale, sporting
huge low hanging breasts, infatuated with Dromio, "Oh Dromio, Oh Dromio,
wherefore art thou, Dromio?" (Oooops, wrong Shakespeare play). Charles Krohn,
who also plays a nun, among his multiple characters, was hilarious as he does
a Marlon Brando "Godfather" impersonation. This nun's sole job is to
open the door to the Abbey, and turn on the Neon sign, "JESUS SAVES".
One could consider this play a period piece, if and only if one could determine
what period it is. The funniest character I found is Bettye Fitzpatrick, who
plays The Abbess, a Mother Superior carrying a loaded shotgun (it is Houston's
Rodeo Season, after all). The comedy is most effective with Bettye Fitzpatrick,
John Tyson and Charles Krohn, who downplayed their characters. Equally amusing
is watching the Brilliant Director Gregory Boyd (during Premiere night), sitting
on the 3rd row, mouthing all the words to all the characters in the show. It must
be incredibly rewarding to watch all his ideas, his artistic interpretation, his
creation come to life. Good Ol' Billy Shakespeare would have been sooooo proud.
The Fight Scenes were well-coordinated, which included double-edged swords,
switch-blade knives, flying ninjas and Batman sequences. The women were voluptuous
in their costumes, wearing garter belts and belly-dancer outfits. Annalee Jefferies
is brilliant as the beautiful Adriana, Elizabeth Heflin as her sister Luciana, and
Amanda Ronconi was irresistible as the Courtesan with a top-heavy headpiece (my friend
was intently watching her through his binoculars). All in all, it was a brilliant
execution of a Shakespeare Farce. You walk out of the theatre thinking, "That wasn't
just a Shakespeare play that I saw, was it?"
ALLEY'S BOYD SENDS ACTING COMPANY ON THEATRICAL EXPLORATION OF SHAKESPEARE'S ZANIEST WORK,
"THE COMEDY OF ERRORS"
February 4-March 5, 2000; Opening February 9, 2000
HOUSTON, Texas-Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd and the Alley
company of actors take Shakespeare's outrageous The Comedy of Errors on a unique
interpretation of the Bard's mistaken-identity farce. Sponsored by Deloitte & Touche, L.L.P.,
and Chase Bank of Texas, The Comedy of Errors plays on the Alley's intimate Neuhaus Arena
Stage Friday, February 4 through Sunday, March 5, 2000, with the official opening taking place on
Wednesday, February 9, 2000.
"I wanted to make a production of The Comedy of Errors for the current resident
company because their make-up seemed to offer me a unique opportunity, " said Mr. Boyd.
"Every role in The Comedy of Errors is worth playing, which makes it a lovely ensemble piece,
and it has enough 'room' in it to allow us to give whatever is particular in the personality of this
cast a chance to have fun.'
The Comedy of Errors begins when Antipholus of Syracuse and his sidekick Dromio,
arrive in Ephesus. Unknown to them, their long-lost twin brothers (also named Antipholus and
Dromio) are residents of the town. When the visitors encounter complete strangers declaring
friendship, creditors demanding payment and women claiming marriage, the stage is set for a
wild romp of mistaken identities and comic confusion.
The Comedy of Errors is one of Shakespeare's first plays, perhaps written in 1589. It is
one of his only true farces and is believed to be an adaptation from the ancient Roman
playwright Plautus' The Menachmi, which also dealt with the misadventures of a set of twins.
The Shakespearian version of course doubled the possibility for humorous mishaps by doubling
the number of twins; and as a result, made the play a much more complicated and intelligent
farce. In its long history of productions, the play has had several interpretations, and
was even the inspiration for Rodgers and Hart's The Boys from Syracuse. Mr. Boyd's imaginative
production borrows elements from 1940s Warner Brothers endeavors such as "Casablanca" and
"Algiers" - allowing for even more layers of chaos and fun.
Alley Theatre Resident Company Actor James Black is both Antipholus of Epheus and Antipholus
of Syracuse, while Alley Theatre Resident Company Actor John Tyson is both Dromio of Ephesus
and Dromio of Syracuse. Other Alley Resident Company Actors include: John Feltch as Pinch,
Bettye Fitzpatrick as Emilia, Elizabeth Heflin as Luciana, Annalee Jefferies as Adriana,
Charles Krohn as Egeon, and Kevin Waldron as Balthazar. The Alley regulars will be joined
by James Belcher as Solinus, Luis Galindo as the First Merchant / Second Merchant, Amanda
Ronconi as the Courtesan, and Jamison Stern as Angelo.
The Comedy of Errors features scenic and lighting design by Alley Associate Director / Design
Kevin Rigdon, costume design by Fabio Toblini and sound design by Alley Resident Sound Designer Malcolm Nicholls.
The Alley Theatre, recipient of the 1996 Special Tony Award for outstanding regional theatre,
is a resident theatre company located in the heart of downtown Houston. Alley productions
have been seen throughout the United States and abroad. In 1998, the Alley Theatre continued
its commitment to international collaborations by joining Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave's
Moving Theatre of London to produce the world premiere production of Tennessee Williams' early
play Not About Nightingales at the Cottesloe Theatre in London. A collaboration with the
Moving Theatre and Royal National Theatre and idrected by Trevor Nunn, Not About Nightingales made its U.S. debut at the Alley THeatre in June 1998 and went onto to open at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway in the Spring of 1999. Featuring two Alley actors in principal roles, Not About Nightingales was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.
The Alley began its 1998-99 season with the world premiere of an original and unique
musical event entitled The Civil War by Gregory Boyd, Jack Murphy and Frank Wildhom
(composer of Jekyll & Hyde and The Scarlet Pimpernel). The Civil War (Tony Award
nomination, Best Musical) went on to a run at Broadway's St. James Theatre in April, 1999, making it the second Alley offering to open on Broadway that season, and is currently on a national tour.
For the 1999-2000 season, Gregory Boyd, the Alley Theatre Artistic Director has chosen to
include a juxtaposition of the new, the contemporary and the classic-including a trio of new plays
by three writers making their Alley debuts: Lemonade,'a world premiere by Eve Ensler, As Bees in
Honey Drown, a brilliant comedy by Douglas Carter Beane, and Margaret Edson's 1999 Pulitzer
Prize winner Wit. Alongside these are three modem masters who helped define 20' century
playwriting: Arthur Miller, Nodi Coward, and Edward Albee, whose new play A Play About the
Baby will make its American premiere at the Alley in the spring of 2000.
Tickets for The Comedy of Errors are on sale now at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615
single tickets to performances on or after the Wednesday, February 9 opening range from $37-
$42. Groups of IO persons or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate by calling 713/229-
9341, ext. 350.
SPECIAL PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS
The Alley Theatre continues its efforts to make its productions available to broader
audiences by offering a captioned performance for patrons with low-hearing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday,
TALK TO THE ARTISTS
Alley patrons are invited to attend two post-show Talk Backs with the cast and members
of the artistic staff on Thursday, February IO; and Wednesday, February 16.
This production is recommended for mature audiences.
The Comedy of Errors
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Gregory Boyd
Shakespeare's most outrageous comedy begins when Antipholus of Syracuse and
his sidekick Drornio, arrive in Ephesus. Unknown to them, their long-lost twin
brothers (also named Antipholus and Dromio) are residents of the town. When
the visitors encounter complete strangers declaring friendship, creditors
demanding payment and women claiming marriage, the stage is set for a wild
romp of mistaken identities and comic confusion. Alley Theatre Artistic Director
Gregory Boyd directs.
WHEN: February 4 - March 5, 2000
WHERE: Alley Theatre, Neuhaus Arena Stage
615 Texas Avenue
TICKETS: Tickets to Comedy of Errors can be purchased at the Alley Theatre
Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling 713-228-8421. Tickets to preview
performances are $23; tickets to performances on or after February 9 range from
$37 - $42. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets at a discounted rate by
calling 713-228-9341, ext. 350.