Bell Shakespeare is set to bring The Comedy of Errors to Canberra later this year.
Directed by longtime Bell Shakespeare collaborator Janine Watson, the play is a comedic and heartfelt romp of swapped identities, misguided love, mistaken imprisonment, and chaotic mishap.
Set in the 1970s, a time when global tensions were sky high but was juxtaposed with social movements fighting for liberation and change, the production takes place over 24 hours in a colourful and hedonistic seaside land that feels as if anything can and will happen.
Two sets of twins who have been separated for decades strive to be brought back together, and as the dawn arises, all the threads come untangled, and the truth is revealed.
"The Comedy of Errors actually sets up incredibly high stakes from the very first moment with Egeon condemned to death," director Janine Watson said.
"He's searching for his two sets of twins and his wife, all torn apart in a terrible shipwreck three decades ago. The country he has come from and the country he lands in, in a last desperate attempt to find his family, are in deep conflict. He needs to raise a bond of $1000 for his life or perish.
"The scene is then set for a mad, desperate romp of mistaken identity, thwarted lovers and theatrical trickery. When the clock is set on Egeon's life at the start of the play, it sets a tone of urgency that propels the characters toward reunion as they race towards the resolution of the plot.
"Make no mistake - this production will be a fast paced and rollicking comedy, full of verbal wit and physical high jinx. But the characters are desperate for freedom, reunion, love - and that's what we'll keep at the heart of our show."
Gender fluidity has been explored amongst the characters, with the Dromio twins played by Julia Billington and Ella Prince, and the Antipholus twins will be portrayed by Felix Jozeps and Skyler Ellis. Joining them onstage will be Joseph Althouse, Giema Contini, Alex King, Leilani Loau, Lauren Richardson and Maitland Schnaars.
September 30 to October 8. Canberra Theatre Centre. Tickets from canberratheatrecentre.com.au.
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