IU's Indiana Festival Theatre to perform 'The Comedy of Errors,' 'Ah, Wilderness!' in repertory
The Indiana Festival Theatre at Indiana University's Department of Theatre and Drama is presenting William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors and Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O'Neill in repertory, meaning that a single cast performs different plays on alternating dates and times in the same theater.
The Comedy of Errors opened, July 14, and Ah, Wilderness! opens tonight (July 21). Both productions will take place in the Wells-Metz Theatre.
Show One: The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Considered one of the greatest comedies of all time, The Comedy of Errors tells the story of a young man and his servant, both from Syracuse. The two arrive in Ephesus -- not knowing that the young man has an identical twin brother living in the city. This identical twin also has a servant, who happens to be the identical twin brother of the newly arrived servant from Syracuse. The resulting confusion, mistaken identities, and madcap anarchy have entertained audiences for more than 400 years.
Director Jonathan Michaelsen, chair of the IU Department of Theatre and Drama, refers to Comedy of Errors as "great Shakespeare with some zany farce thrown in." He describes the cast as good comedians who are also physically adept.
The Indiana Festival Theatre repertory company is led by four professional Actors' Equity Association performers. In the role of Egeon and Pinch in The Comedy of Errors is Henry Woronicz, former artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Faculty member Adam Noble plays Antipholus of Ephesus and faculty member Fontaine Syer plays the Queen. Indianapolis actor and IU alumnus Rob Johansen plays Angelo.
Local musician David Wierhake will perform an original score he composed for the production.
Show Two: Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O'Neill
Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill's only comedy, Ah, Wilderness! takes place in turn-of-the-last-century, small-town America and follows the story of a young man falling in love for the first time. O'Neill communicates the trust and support the boy is given by his family, despite the "generation gap." The playwright once wrote that this comedy features "a lot which we badly need today to steady us. … The good idea of the simple old family life as lived by the typical middle class hard-working American. It's a play about people, simple people of another day but real American people. And a comedy! It's damned funny (at least to me!)."
Director Dale McFadden, head of the acting and directing program and associate chair, sees the play as "the creation of the wonderful and loving family that O'Neill found lacking in his life. This is an emotional fantasy of the American family on the most beautiful day of the year, July the 4th, 1906, when love is believing the best in others through thick and thin."
Henry Woronicz plays Nat, Adam Noble plays McComber, Fontaine Syer plays Lilly and Rob Johansen plays Sid. Joining this core of professionals in the repertory cast are Thomas Beaver, Andrew Brewer, Molly Casey, Kerry Ipema, Kelly Lusk, Brianna McClellan, Henry A. McDaniel III, Tim Pyles, Abby Rowold, Kate Suffern and 10-year-old Roman Savytskyy.
Creating the convertible repertory world for both shows are scenic designer Fred M. Duer, costume designer Jennifer Shesko, lighting designers Abby Wells (The Comedy of Errors) and Amanda Wray (Ah, Wilderness!), and sound designer Christopher Wood (Ah, Wilderness!). Visit theatre.indiana.edu for details. Return to the website as biographies of all the actors and creative teams, images of designs and other related stories appear.
If you go
Indiana Festival Theatre's production of The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare, and Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O'Neill, alternate performances until July 30 and 31. For specific dates and times visit theatre.indiana.edu. Performances for both shows take place in the Wells-Metz Theatre in the Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center at 275 N. Jordan Ave. Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for any students and anyone 18 years of age or younger.