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The Antelope

Fronczak takes Shakespeare into 1920s


Mistaken identities abound for UNK’s production of ‘The Comedy of Errors’
By Jess Moser

Years ago, a set of identical twins, both named Antipholus, and their identical twin servants, both named Dromio, were separated at sea. One Antipholus and Dromio wound up in Syracuse, and one Antipholus and Dromio wound up in Ephesis. Now all four of them are in Ephesis, and it’s a case of mistaken identity all around.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s theatre department will present William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” April 4-8 in the Miriam Drake Theatre. The play is being directed by professor Janice Fronczak.

“It’s Shakespeare. It’s a comedy. It’s highly physical, with chase scenes. It’s a very male-driven play,” Fronczak said. “It’s kind of about identity and losing your identity and how scary that is, but it’s funny.”

Fronczak’s production is a vaudeville comedy set in the 1920s. They’re recreating the theatre to look like a vaudeville house. The concept is a traveling troupe set in the 1920s who puts on “The Comedy of Errors” in their present day.

“We have 1920s costumes, which are going to be wonderful,” said Fronczak. “It’s set in Ephesis, which is supposed to be a little island off the coast of Greece, so they’re little Grecian indications.” Fronczak says the play will run at about two hours long with intermission.

“It’s going to be very, very fun and very fast,” Fronczak said. “I just think that this play is a great introduction to Shakespeare if you’ve never seen a Shakespeare play. I think college students will love this play.”

“The Comedy of Errors” is Shakespeare’s shortest comedic play, but the cast of UNK’s production still has to do six weeks of rehearsals, with a minimum of three hours a night before opening night.

Fronczak says that the hardest part of directing a play like this is the language. “Getting the students to not be afraid of the language and making it approachable for them. There’s a cadence to it,” Fronczak said. “We have a script that’s great, because you have Shakespeare on one side and what they’re really saying on the other, so that really helps.”

It’s not only the theatre department that’s excited for this play. “I’m super stoked,” said Mackenzie Marrow, a senior English literature major from Lincoln. “I’ve never actually read ‘The Comedy of Errors,’ and I really like to see plays before I read them. It’s easier for me to conceptualize that way. I’m really excited to see it.”

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