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The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

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Lucas O’Brien

Drama 244

Prof. Longerot

Comedy of Errors


The Comedy of Errors by, William Shakespeare

Character Analysis: Dromio

Actor: Miles Shebar

Synopsis: The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. At the beginning, 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 Syracuse people encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of comedic 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.

Mood: This play is a comedy. Shakespeare uses a dramatic form of misinterpretation, misinformation, and the guise of mistaken identity to create a play that will ultimately make an audience laugh. Many make comment to the fact that this play lacks substance or plot, and while the objectives presented in the play are somewhat shallow, the means and tactics to which each character tries to accomplish their truth while in Syracuse lead to comedic, complex and, farcical results; pure entertainment. The themes of identity, class, youth versus old-age, enchantment, religion, and love are present.


Character Analysis:

Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus are not terribly complex characters in their portrayal in Shakespeare’s play, but they play a very particular role in the play nevertheless. The Dromios are as deeply entangled in the identity confusion as the Antipholi, their masters. Unlike the Antipholi, however, they experience and reflect on the madness they experience with a lighter, more animated perspective. For example, E. Dromio delights in the mischief of being locked out of dinner, and encourages E. Antipholus to break down the door. Much like his twin in humor, S. Dromio makes innapropriate jokes at the appearance of the Courtesan, which is decidedly less serious than S. Antipholus’s fearful condemnation of her as a manifestation of the Devil – one of the plays main themes.

The Dromios’ performance has the power to highlight the absurd and delightful aspects of the play. In doing so, they provide comic relief for their masters’ stern severity, and in this production will add to the purposeful dramatic color of the Syracuse setting. In fact, the Dromios have a habit of playing with words and ideas so they can diffuse even the most tense of situations.

The Dromios must also be considered for the roles they play relative to each of their masters. For the most part, the relationship between each Dromio and his Antipholus is not that distinct. Though S. Antipholus went out seeking a brother, through the duration of the play, it’s clear that the Antipholus/Dromio pairs operate like brothers. Sure, it’s not exactly a loving relationship, but it’s a fraternal one, where they hit each other because they love each other, not because one of them is adopted. It’s clear the Antipholi don’t have a brotherly relationship with each other, but that doesn’t mean they have no fraternal relationships at all. Though the Antipholi and the Dromios are separated by class distinction, the time they spend together, and the camaraderie they share, suggests that each Antipholi actually has a brotherly relationship with his respective Dromio.

Environment: The environment of this play is Cuba 1940s. This entails the designer to work with a myriad of influences of color, culture, and societal characteristics. The warm, tropical climate might influence skin color and introduce darker skin tones or tanned ones. The culture of this fictitious Cuba are rooted in the exotic and colorful traditions of Central America. The play takes place in one day. The 1940s aspect plays a particular role in underlining the hierarchical roles of the play, such as the Duke, and separating the groups of townspeople and lower ranked ensemble members.

Fashion:  The feel for the Dromios’s costumes are bright and tropical. Evocative of 1940s leisure-wear, the Dromios are presented in Hawaiian shirts of bright orange-pink and beige pants. The makeup design will highlight the youthful, bright color palette. The element of design for this production is color. The fictitious Cuba setting will be presented in vibrant colors that will coincide with the costume design. Makeup, in this respect, will have to be attentive to these color relationships and will have to distinguish the actor’s faces so as not to be swallowed by the accompanying design elements. Culture-specific makeup design for some characters and character makeup for the more fantastical, eccentric characters of the play will be used for humor and satirical purposes.

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