Beach Blanket Ephesus at COM

When we’re enjoying a well-staged Shakespeare comedy, life’s a beach, and this one comes complete with a lifeguard chair, a parked surfboard and an obliging Pepsi machine. As soon as the Beach Boys launch into, “Surfin’ USA,” the boardwalk comes to life with skaters, twisters, comic policemen and dancers doing “The Swim.” The Bard’s Ephesus, it turns out, looks a lot like SoCal’s Venice Beach.
Instead, it’s “The Comedy of Errors” at College of Marin, and its director, James Dunn, has explained that the play is a farce, with all the characters trying to find out who they are and what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s fast-moving, he says, and Dunn should know. This was the first production from COM’s new Drama Department in 1964, which he founded. The present “Comedy,” being shown in the James Dunn Theatre, is the Department’s 272nd.
But not everybody is welcome in Ephesus. A new arrival, pushing a vendor’s cart, is from Syracuse, and the Duke — the one on the beach trike — says the stranger has to pay a big fine or die at sunset; sorry, but that’s the law.
Egeon, the stranger, using props from the cart, explains his situation. He’s here in search of his missing family, separated from him in a shipwreck five years ago. He had twin sons, entirely identical, even to their names. Both were named Antipholus. (Odd, but there’s more.) On the same day in his former home, a servant girl gave birth to another pair of identical twin boys, and these were both named Dromio. The servant twins were raised to serve Egeon’s twins. So there are two Antipholi and two Dromii.
One Antipholus is already a respectable citizen of Syracuse, while the other is about to arrive, each accompanied by a Dromio. More remarkable still, each pair is identically clothed. Let the fun begin.
Shakespeare loved mistaken identity jokes, and this plot gave him all a writer could ask for: a jealous wife, a lovestruck kitchen wench, an impatient goldsmith and general confusion, another comedy standby.
However, Egeon’s death sentence remains since his ransom money keeps vanishing, and everyone comes together for his scheduled execution, including a surprise witness. Then the Duke turns out to be a good guy after all.
Familiar names have contributed to this antic anniversary show. Kenneth Rowland designed the set, Patricia Polen and Jennifer O’Neill provided the costumes and Linda Dunn arranged the props.
In the cast, former Belvederean Steven Price plays the long-suffering Egeon, Skylar Collins appears as a doubly-confused Antipholus, and a tireless Jon Demegillo takes on the role of the much-battered Dromio. Both Demegillo and the saucy actress who plays Angela, the goldsmith — Trungta (Kae) Kositchaimongkol — also assisted with set and costume construction.
Robert Garcia plays both the trike-riding Duke and the creepy Dr. Pinch, Eileen Fisher is Antonius’ wrathful wife, with Melanie Macri as her sister. Michel Harris doubles as Antonius’ friend and a Merchant. The Beach Police are composed of Jesse Lumb, Evan Louie and Jeremy Snowden. Keara Reardon is a Courtesan, with Jannely Calmell and Ariana Mahallati serving as Apprentices. Jeffrey Taylor is another Merchant. (All the merchants have colorful bits.) Christina Jaqua as the Abbess provides the necessary happy ending.
Another reason to enjoy COM’s production: Shakespeare’s original was five acts; this one’s two.
A fine exhibit of artifacts and memorabilia from all fifty years of shows is open to the public in the College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibit, assembled by set designer Ron Krempetz, is a lively collection of costumes, props, photos and mini-sets, with videos around the room to bring previous shows to life. The exhibition will remain the length of the show, through March 22. It’s free, but donations are encouraged. The theatre lobby also has a photo display from the early career of the late Robin Williams, when he was a student at COM.
Opening night’s show was also honored with visits by Supervisor Katie Rice and by a representative from Sen. McGuire’s office, presenting the Drama Department with a Certificate of Recognition for its fifty years in the community.
“The Comedy of Errors” will play in the James Dunn Theatre at the College of Marin Fridays and Saturdays through March 21 and Sunday, March 22. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m.; the Sunday matinee is at 2 p.m. Prices range from $10 to $20.
For additional information, call the box office, 415-485-9385, or see brownpapertickets.org.

750 words By ROSINE REYNOLDS

Beach Blanket Ephesus at COM
When we’re enjoying a well-staged Shakespeare comedy, life’s a beach, and this one comes complete with a lifeguard chair, a parked surfboard and an obliging Pepsi machine. As soon as the Beach Boys launch into, “Surfin’ USA,” the boardwalk comes to life with skaters, twisters, comic policemen and dancers doing “The Swim.” The Bard’s Ephesus, it turns out, looks a lot like SoCal’s Venice Beach.
Instead, it’s “The Comedy of Errors” at College of Marin, and its director, James Dunn, has explained that the play is a farce, with all the characters trying to find out who they are and what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s fast-moving, he says, and Dunn should know. This was the first production from COM’s new Drama Department in 1964, which he founded. The present “Comedy,” being shown in the James Dunn Theatre, is the Department’s 272nd.
But not everybody is welcome in Ephesus. A new arrival, pushing a vendor’s cart, is from Syracuse, and the Duke — the one on the beach trike — says the stranger has to pay a big fine or die at sunset; sorry, but that’s the law.
Egeon, the stranger, using props from the cart, explains his situation. He’s here in search of his missing family, separated from him in a shipwreck five years ago. He had twin sons, entirely identical, even to their names. Both were named Antipholus. (Odd, but there’s more.) On the same day in his former home, a servant girl gave birth to another pair of identical twin boys, and these were both named Dromio. The servant twins were raised to serve Egeon’s twins. So there are two Antipholi and two Dromii.
One Antipholus is already a respectable citizen of Syracuse, while the other is about to arrive, each accompanied by a Dromio. More remarkable still, each pair is identically clothed. Let the fun begin.
Shakespeare loved mistaken identity jokes, and this plot gave him all a writer could ask for: a jealous wife, a lovestruck kitchen wench, an impatient goldsmith and general confusion, another comedy standby.
However, Egeon’s death sentence remains since his ransom money keeps vanishing, and everyone comes together for his scheduled execution, including a surprise witness. Then the Duke turns out to be a good guy after all.
Familiar names have contributed to this antic anniversary show. Kenneth Rowland designed the set, Patricia Polen and Jennifer O’Neill provided the costumes and Linda Dunn arranged the props.
In the cast, former Belvederean Steven Price plays the long-suffering Egeon, Skylar Collins appears as a doubly-confused Antipholus, and a tireless Jon Demegillo takes on the role of the much-battered Dromio. Both Demegillo and the saucy actress who plays Angela, the goldsmith — Trungta (Kae) Kositchaimongkol — also assisted with set and costume construction.
Robert Garcia plays both the trike-riding Duke and the creepy Dr. Pinch, Eileen Fisher is Antonius’ wrathful wife, with Melanie Macri as her sister. Michel Harris doubles as Antonius’ friend and a Merchant. The Beach Police are composed of Jesse Lumb, Evan Louie and Jeremy Snowden. Keara Reardon is a Courtesan, with Jannely Calmell and Ariana Mahallati serving as Apprentices. Jeffrey Taylor is another Merchant. (All the merchants have colorful bits.) Christina Jaqua as the Abbess provides the necessary happy ending.
Another reason to enjoy COM’s production: Shakespeare’s original was five acts; this one’s two.
A fine exhibit of artifacts and memorabilia from all fifty years of shows is open to the public in the College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibit, assembled by set designer Ron Krempetz, is a lively collection of costumes, props, photos and mini-sets, with videos around the room to bring previous shows to life. The exhibition will remain the length of the show, through March 22. It’s free, but donations are encouraged. The theatre lobby also has a photo display from the early career of the late Robin Williams, when he was a student at COM.
Opening night’s show was also honored with visits by Supervisor Katie Rice and by a representative from Sen. McGuire’s office, presenting the Drama Department with a Certificate of Recognition for its fifty years in the community.
“The Comedy of Errors” will play in the James Dunn Theatre at the College of Marin Fridays and Saturdays through March 21 and Sunday, March 22. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m.; the Sunday matinee is at 2 p.m. Prices range from $10 to $20.
For additional information, call the box office, 415-485-9385, or see brownpapertickets.org.