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‘Shakespearience’ Visits Valley Park

Pictured are Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse as they discover each other.

The Putnam County Library brought the Rustic Mechanicals, West Virginia’s only professional touring Shakespeare troupe, to the Valley Park Conference Center this last Saturday to perform Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.” The troupe delivered a “Shakespearience” (an experience similar to that which 17th Century audiences would have enjoyed).

Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” is farcical by design. While it is not possible to make a direct comparison of the rendition produced by the Rustic Mechanicals to performances of 400 years ago, it is safe to say that the original would place a distant second on any farceness scale to that of the Saturday, July 29th performance at Valley Park.

The original play tells the story of two sets of identical twins who were accidentally separated at birth, one set named Antipholus and the other named Dromio. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.

The Rustic Mechanicals version surpasses the original in buffoonery by utilizing modern day paraphernalia to depict that which passed as realism in Shakespeare’s day.

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