Villanova Theater Presents COMEDY OF ERRORS, Closes 10/9

Villanova Theatre kicks off the 2011-2012 season with The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare's fastest, funniest farce. Director Shawn Kairschner's whimsical production of this fan favorite draws inspiration from Western motifs as well as from the eye-popping style and madcap humor of "Laugh-In," the groundbreaking TV comedy show of the late 1960s and early 70s.

Shakespeare's topsy-turvy plot sets the stage for confusion and delight: Imagine that you and your servant are separated at birth from your brother and his servant - two sets of identical twins. Imagine that, after years of estrangement, all four of you somehow wind up in the same town. Now imagine that your brother's wife mistakes you for him - but not before you've tried to seduce her sister! Fists will fly, doors will slam, and chaos will reign in a Comedy of Errors for the ages: uproarious, effervescent, and deliciously convoluted.

According to Kairschner, "Entering the rehearsal room is basically like stepping into Toon Town - the characterization is bright, bold, and exaggerated - each actor has his or her own 'signature giddy-up,' and our fight choreography is embellished with cartoonish sound effects. You can practically see the little birdies flying around their heads."

Kairschner's passion for physical characterization is clear, and his production of The Beaux' Stratagem at Villanova was recently nominated for a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Choreography/Movement. Rounding out the award-winning creative team behind Villanova Theatre's production are John Raley (Scenic Design), Cloe Fox Wind (Costume Design), Jerold Forsyth (Lighting Design), Jenny Jacobs (Choreographer), Aaron Cromie (Movement) and Parris Bradley (Sound Design).

Kairschner directs a cast of a dozen versatile actors who trip, punch and spin their way through two hours of side-splitting slapstick comedy. Casting two sets of identical twins might be seen by some as a sizeable problem, but Kairschner gladly accepted the challenge, eschewing masks and elaborate make-up in favor of focusing on physical characterization. The twins will be played by a talented foursome comprising both first- and second-year graduate students: acting scholar Ahren Potratz (Antipholus of Syracuse), Dan Ciba (Antipholus of Ephesus), Philip Vonada (Dromio of Syracuse), and acting scholar Michael Jansen (Dromio of Ephesus).

Felicia Leicht, a second-year acting scholar last seen in Villanova Theatre's production of The Cherry Orchard plays Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus. Her loving sister (and unknowing competition), Luciana, is Emily Walsh. The parents of the two "Antipholi" are played by Jim McCabe and Ashley Leamon. Rounding out the cast are Lizzy Pecora, Robert Towarnicki, John McGraw and Michael Kane Libonati (last seen in the title role of Bat Boy: The Musical), each of whom juggles multiple roles.

The Comedy of Errors takes the stage at Villanova Theatre from September 27-October 9, 2011 with press opening on Wednesday, September 28th.Villanova Theatre is located on the Villanova University campus in Vasey Hall (at Lancaster & Ithan Ave.). Performances will be held Tuesdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets run $21-$25, with discounts available for seniors, students and groups. Tickets may be purchased at the Villanova Theatre Box Office (M-S, 12 -5 p.m.) in person, by phone: (610) 519-7474, or online at

Shawn Kairschner (Director) has performed and directed in numerous venues in the United States and in Europe. Favorite acting roles include Berowne in Love's Labours Lost, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and Antonio Vivaldi in Theresa Bassoon. He is proud to have been in the first cast of American actors to perform at the new Globe Theatre in Southwark, London. As a director, he has worked on both coasts, including a three-year stint as the Artistic Director of the Sideway Theater Company in Berkeley, CA, where he directed or produced a variety of pieces from Shakespearean comedies to original one-person shows. For Villanova Theatre, he has directed, among others, Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses and last fall's production of The Beaux Stratagem. Other directorial credits include The Caucasian Chalk Circle in Williamstown, MA and A Midsummer Night's Dream at Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D.

"An unmitigated hoot" - The Guardian.
Shakespeare's first comedy, The Comedy of Errors, tells the tale of a pair of twins - curiously, both named Antipholus -- born to parents Egeon and Emilia in the ancient city of Syracuse. Egeon and Emilia had purchased twins - both named Dromio -- for their sons as servants before the family became separated during a shipwreck, one Antipholus and one Dromio remaining with Egeon and the other set finding their way to Ephesus. Years later, when Antipholus of Syracuse leaves home to search for his missing brother and mother, Egeon follows after him, but is imprisoned when he arrives in Ephesus (since Syracuse and Ephesus are at war). When Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse themselves enter Ephesus on business, they are quickly mistaken for their long lost twins, who have now made a life and living in the town. A Comedy of Errors ensues in which soon no one is sure if he is or isn't who he says he is!

Matt Kozusko is Associate Professor of English at Ursinus College, where he teaches Shakespeare and early modern drama. His research interests include theater history and Shakespeare in performance, and he has published articles in such journals as Shakespeare Bulletin, Early Theatre, and Borrowers & Lenders. He edited The Two Gentlemen of Verona for the New Kittredge Shakespeare series and is co-editor of Thunder at a Playhouse: Essaying Shakespeare and the Early Modern Stage (Susquehanna UP, 2010). Dr. Kozusko is also co-founder of Austin's Bedlam Faction Theater Company, and his Shakespeare performance credits include productions in Texas (with Shawn Kairschner), England (Oxford University Drama Society), and Philadelphia (the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre).

Related Articles View More Philadelphia Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram