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Opening tonight: ‘The Comedy of Errors’

Tonight’s opening at the 2nd Space Theatre is a first for Good Company Players: The new production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” is being done in a Commedia dell’arte style. Director J. Daniel Herring is setting the play in a town square, performed by a traveling band of actors that include many of the stock characters associated with Commedia dell’arte. From GCP:

In this merry mix-up by the Bard, two sets of identical twins are separated as children in a shipwreck – they land on far distant shores, not knowing what happened to the others. Once grown, Antipholus of Syracuse (MATTHEW RUDOLF SCHILTZ) and his servant Dromio (DANIELLE VALDIVIA) travel to Ephesus and are mistaken for their long-lost twin brothers, Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus (KEN STOCKS and BRIANNE JANAE VOGT). When they meet by accident as adults, the possibilities are endless: mistaken identities, near-seductions, false arrests, and wild accusations of adultery, larceny, and insanity are flung about with wild abandon.

This is the first Shakespeare production done by Good Company since 1993′s “Twelfth Night.”

“The Comedy of Errors” continues Thursdays-Sundays through Oct. 12. Look for my interview with Herring about the show in Friday’s 7 section.

My kingdom for a council parking lot …

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Big archaeological news today: A skeleton dug up in Leicester, England parking lot suspected to be the remains of Richard III has been positively identified through DNA tests, scientists say. From the AP:

The 10 injuries to the body were inflicted by weapons like swords, daggers and halberds and were consistent with accounts of Richard being struck down in battle — his helmet knocked from his head — before his body was stripped naked and flung over the back of a horse in disgrace.

The skeleton shows evidence of scoliosis, which would be consistent with Shakespeare’s famous depiction of the king as having a hump in the play bearing his name. Some scholars over the years have suggested that Richard faked the hump.

All this has set folks on social media today bandying about literary allusions, of course. My favorite:

Fate loves irony. He died shortly after offering his kingdom for a horse, and he was found under the wheels of a Mustang.

THEATER REVIEW: ‘The Tempest’

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In the windiest week in years, a very fine production of “The Tempest” blew into town.

Director Kathleen McKinley delivers a beguiling production of the Shakespeare classic at Fresno State’s John Wright Theatre. From the storm-tossed chaos of the opening scenes to the tender valedictory passages at the end as the magic-wielding Prospero relinquishes his powers, this production resonates with a breezy competence and a knowing heart.

McKinley calls her interpretation of the work “modern eclectic,” and at first, the crispness of the production’s vibe — achieved with pulsing ambient music, costumes with a captivating non-Elizabethan flair, brisk blocking and a wonderful revolving metal contraption of a set — might seem at odds with the lushness of the material. This is an island, after all, even if one chooses to think of it as a gritty and barren one, and the production design initially seems too industrial-sterile for a tale that seems so close to the earth.

But the tone of the production and the care with which McKinley has lavished on it go a long way toward warming it up. I found myself increasingly drawn to this show. (It continues 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.)

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