Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Aryana Sye

CJSF volunter, Aryana Sye, reviews the 2009 Bard on the Beach performance of the Comedy of Errors...

The backdrop for a perfect night at the theater includes; a picture of the sun descending behind the actor’s stage, a glass of fine vino in hand, and the sound of the sea crashing on the rocks. Bard on the Beach is wonderful venue to see Shakespeare’s plays reenacted. Each play at Bard has intricate mechanisms that spin each performance into its own contemporary version of Shakespearean times past. Bard on the Beach celebrates both Shakespeare and summertime drawing more and more Vancouverites interested in delving into the world of this genius playwright.  

Comedy of Errors graces the main stage of the 2009 Bard season. One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, as well as his shortest, this comedy draws most of its humor from the idea of mistaken identity and word play. It depicts the story of two sets of identical twins that have been accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio arrive in Ephesus which happens to be the home of their long lost twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant Dromio of Ephesus. Once the twins encounter each other, a series of wild mishaps occur, including but not limited to infidelity, theft, wrongful beatings and demonic possession.  

Set in true Shakespearn time,and inspired to poke fun of all things “Elizabethan”, Bard director David Mackay wanted the play to have a Renaissance feel to it. Once the play was reshaped into this original setting, David was taken back by the magic of the era and could not help but imagine an audience past, laughing to the sheer genius of the then budding talent of Shakespeare.

One of my favourite parts about this play was the interjection of song and dance. It would happen often in a scene; characters would break into song, singing renditions of classics like the Doors “Light my Fire.” I appreciated the juxtaposition between the renaissance and contemporary culture. Comedy of Errors proves the ease of how time-honored stories can be lifted out of their original context and set into new and modern contexts with ease and an energy. 

As David Mackay states, “Shakespeare stole from the best and his plays will last for decades.” This statement holds true, Shakespeare’s plays have a lighthearted innocence to them, a tongue and check, slapstick sense humor that makes each performance a unique take on an era that has long been forgotten by contemporary humor and modern jargon.

  • Posted on: 18 March 2016
  • By: Administrator