The Comedy of Errors – Performance Analysis

The Comedy of Errors turns out to be precisely what the title promised. It is a play about magic and illusion in a faraway country. The Comedy of Errors shows how a series of confused identities eventually leads to chaos in a community, and just how deceiving appearances can be. The audience is witness to the madness that rapidly takes over suspicious minds, and finally, the much-awaited reunion of one family. It is a farcical comedy, a fantasy in a distant country, which simultaneously arouses in the audience some degree of sympathy and compassion for the characters.John Bell, the director of the play, uses various factors to illustrate this, including a number of material aspects of the production. I will discuss these further in the essay.
Before watching the play I perceived it to be of a high quality, with talented actors, as it was being performed at the Sydney Opera House, in the “Playhouse”. Knowing it was a Shakespearean comedy, I was doubtful of whether the language would be understandable. However, having seen previous productions by the Bell Shakespeare Company, I was sure this would not be the case. The Company has a reputation of contemporising Shakespeare’s plays, in order to appeal to a younger, Australian audience, and so, the language did turn out to be somewhat easier to grasp, accompanied by the actors’ gestures and facial reactions.
The narrative of the play is set from thefirst scene. The Comedy of Errors is about a merchant, Egeon, who has twin boys, both called Antipholus. He adopts another set of twin boys, both called Dromio, to grow up to be servants to his sons. In a shipwreck, Egeon is separated from his wife, Emilia, along with one of his sons and servants. When his son, Antipholus of Syracuse, grows up, he decides to seek out his twin brother and sets out for Ephesus. Egeon, who follows him there, gets arrested and sentenced to death unless he finds his son to pay for his bail. The existence of t…