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Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

The Bard arrives, promising laughs

“This is an all-out farce,” director Paul Truckey said of his latest project: NMU’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” running from Tuesday, Feb. 11 to Saturday, Feb. 15 and Tuesday, Feb. 18 to Saturday, Feb. 22. “There will be a lot of slaps, stomps, punches and just plain craziness going on.”

Senior theater majors Alycia Heckathorn and Alexandra Marks, director Paul Truckey and junior theater major John Scheibe rehearse “Errors.” (Katie Stumman/NW)
Senior theater majors Alycia Heckathorn and Alexandra Marks, director Paul Truckey and junior theater major John Scheibe rehearse “Errors.”
(Katie Stumman/NW)

It might sound odd to hear one of the most seriously-studied playwrights of all time discussed in terms of cartoon slapstick, but it’s a perfect fit with the source material.

One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, “Errors” focuses on two sets of twins who were separated at birth. When they coincidentally meet again in the city of Ephesus, hilarity, confused identities and pratfalls ensue.

While Truckey is well-known as both a director and an actor around NMU, this is his first time directing a Shakespeare play, he said.

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However, he has acted in plays by the Bard, and has directed farcical comedies similar to “Errors” in the past. And the process of getting this one ready has been enjoyable for all involved.

“Rehearsals have been wonderfully creative and funny,” Truckey said. “The actors havereally embraced the over-the-top comedic style and have created broad, interesting and funny characters.”

Senior theater major Alexandra Marks,  playing the role of Adriana, said she appreciated Shakespeare’s commitment to creating realistic characters even in the context of a lighthearted comedy.

“The traits about [Adriana] that make her human are the ones I find most intriguing,” Marks said. “Her devotion to love, her slight jadedness from being married, her vanity and her fear of losing her husband make her a dynamic person.”

Visually, NMU’s production of “Errors” will be bright and colorful, Marks said.

That approach was largely influenced by the original script’s breakneck pace and lack of self-seriousness.

This philosophy is also what inspired the production’s staging, in which the audience surrounds part of the stage.

“[The stage] is set up like a hallway where the audience is on two sides, almost like a fashion show runway, so it’s very close and intimate with everyone,” Marks said. “People should feel like they’re part of the story, as well as spectators watching it.”

One of the most interesting things about “Errors” is that, like many of Shakespeare’s plays, it was written hundreds of years ago but still feels accessible today, Truckey said.

And the play’s short runtime and comic nature only add to that accessibility.

“[Comedy of Errors] has been a huge success for centuries, because, first and foremost, Shakespeare knew how to entertain his audience,” Truckey said. “For those weary of seeing Shakespeare and not understanding the language, they can rest assured that they will able to follow this story line very well indeed.”

“It will be a great night of comedy,” Marks said. “It isn’t your typical three-hour-long Shakespeare play; this is a shorter production, jam-packed with tons of laughs. We hope to see everyone who can make it; we’ve had way too much fun rehearsing, so we’re excited to share that with the community.”

“The Comedy of Errors” will play Feb. 11 to 15 and 18 to 22 in the J.P. Black Box Theatre. For more information, email [email protected] or call (906) 227-1032.

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