Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre’s annual summer Shakespearean play, “The Comedy of Errors,” can be seen on the UCA lawn outside of McAllister Hall during its performances on June 23, 26, 29 and July 4 at 7:30 p.m.
The adaptation of the classic, directed by Jack Young, tells the story of a father, Egeon, and his two pairs of twin sons. One pair of twins journey to find the other set and the father becomes imprisoned after following them. The show portrays their quest, which is filled with ironic events and humor.
“[There are] lots of mistaken identities and very extreme, unbelievable circumstances, but you put them together and it’s a lot of fun,” AST artistic director Rebekah Scallet said.
The outdoor setting and overly dramatic acting makes it feel like a Shakespearean play from the late 16th century.
This is AST’s third time showing “The Comedy of Errors,” which is one of the most comical plays William Shakespeare produced in his lifetime according to Scallet.
However, this is the fifth season of AST’s outdoor performances and they recently changed the venue. AST previously held outdoor shows at the Village on Hendrix campus. Although AST’s executive director, Mary Marotte, enjoyed the proximity to restaurants, she acknowledged her team’s desire to move in a different direction this season.
“With the development of Donaghey Hall and the beautiful lawn in front of McAllister, it just seemed right to have everything at UCA,” Marotte said. “It’s our home, and we are so proud to be a part of such a vibrant university.”
Working on UCA’s campus has been a beneficial experience for AST and they appreciate the encouragement they have received after moving their outdoor location.
“Everyone on the campus is so supportive. We get a lot of help from the physical plant to get everything set up. So, it’s really been a nice move for us,” Scallet said.
For the outdoor performances during the summer, Marotte said the AST committee members like to keep the Shakespeare play “light and fun.”
Children are welcome, the dress code is casual, and attendees may bring lawn chairs or blankets to the performance.
Scallet’s favorite part of working on “The Comedy of Errors” has been the cast.
“The actors have brought so much to their roles, and they are always trying new things,” Scallet said. “It hasn’t gotten stale. [The actors] are always finding new jokes and new ways to try things.”
Scallet has been working with AST for eight seasons. After working for the Illinois Shakespeare Theatre in Chicago, she found a passion for Shakespeare, which is what led her to AST. Her roles at AST include helping with casting, selecting shows, and hiring artists, directors and the design team.
“The Comedy of Errors” is free to the public, but AST encourages people to donate to support their organization and future shows.
“Come out and experience [“The Comedy of Errors”] if you haven’t yet.” Marotte said. “You will be so grateful you did.”