The Comedy of Errors

Antipholus of Ephesus played by Nicholas Ferguson (left), and Adriana played by Alessia Zemo (right), embrace as they prepare to make out due to Antipholus of Ephesus mistaken identity for Adriana's husband, Antipholus of Syracuse, within the Shakespearean play, “The Comedy of Errors,” directed by Mikael Mattsson at the SMC Performing Arts Center in Santa Monica, California, on Thursday, April 19th, 2018. (Eduardo Cortes/Photo Contributor)

Antipholus of Ephesus played by Nicholas Ferguson (left), and Adriana played by Alessia Zemo (right), embrace as they prepare to make out due to Antipholus of Ephesus mistaken identity for Adriana's husband, Antipholus of Syracuse, within the Shakespearean play, “The Comedy of Errors,” directed by Mikael Mattsson at the SMC Performing Arts Center in Santa Monica, California, on Thursday, April 19th, 2018. (Eduardo Cortes/Photo Contributor)

The lights dim, signaling to the audience that it is time to quiet down, as the play is about to begin. Three characters march to their positions on stage and immediately get the ball rolling with an emotional monologue by lead actor Michael Sainz, who plays Egeon, the father of the twins who he lost alongside his beloved wife in a shipwreck long ago.

“The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare premiered at Santa Monica College's Theater Arts Building this Friday, April 20, and will continue showing every night until this Sunday, April 29. Directed by Mikael Mattsson, the comedy is based on the unlikely events that take place when two sets of identical twins end up in the same town. 

The sets of twins are Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus, and their slaves, Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus. The scenarios that come together between these sets of masters and servants are fun for all ages, as the actors bring all corners of the black box to life with humor, quarrels, drinking, and chases.

You don't necessarily need to know nor understand Shakespeare in order to get a good laugh in. If you have no prior knowledge of Shakespeare, it is dense and flowery, but oftentimes humorous. It is humor that the actors portray very well, which is very important given the fact that it is Shakespearean.

The intimate setting of the black box theater allows for the actors to get up close and personal with the audience, with some actors even joining in the seats that are open throughout the play. The close proximity also lets the audience appreciate the craftsmanship of the lavish and elaborate costumes that the characters wear, designed by Kristie Mattsson. The costumes -- ranging from multicolored rags to silky, dazzling dresses -- leaving you wishing you could step into the world of 16th-century Italy.

With the small venue, the actors can also project their voices loud enough to avoid the need for microphones or any other sound aids. The punchlines and puns are paired with stage slaps and kicks, prompting laughter from the audience as both Dromios are disciplined by their masters, Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus.

The play will be showing at the Santa Monica Theatre Arts Department on SMC's main campus 1900 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, California. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. on April 20, 21, 27, and 28, and 7:00 p.m. on April 26 and 29. There will be matinee shows on April 22, 28, and 29 at 2 p.m.

$10 advance tickets can be bought online at http://www.smc.edu/studiostage, or via phone at (310) 434-3005 and (310) 434-4319 Monday through Friday. Those interested can also purchase a $13 ticket at the theatre's box office, located near the department office in room 117 of the Theatre Arts building. The box office opens 45 minutes before showtime.

Parking on campus is free on weekends, with no student permit required.

For more information, visit www.smc.edu/theatre, or call (310) 434-4319 for the Theatre Arts department.