let’s go hand in hand, not one before the other

The Comedy of Errors: Ten years I’ve lived in Boston, yet never seen the annual free performance of Shakespeare on the Boston Common before this summer. Such a fault should not be soon forgiven. The Comedy of Errors is perhaps Shakespeare’s weakest farce – hinging on a misunderstanding that could be cleared up in the first few minutes, starting out high energy and never really building, and with little in the way of subplot or diversion. The two Dromios – Larry Coen, long a favorite of the Boston comedy scene, being one of them – carry this performance, with their slapstick perfectly timed and their line readings perfectly delivered. And of course Cheryl Singleton in the final act, as the Abbess, giving the proceedings some much needed gravitas to temper their shrieking zaniness. Colorful costumes and fun little dance numbers diffuse the show’s energy into a soft glow. It’s a fun show, especially at the price, but that says more of the actors propping it up than the source material.

Death of a Salesman: I completely forgot to see this play. My friend Ray, whom I haven’t seen in years, was in this play and I forgot I meant to see it. I’d like to claim that I was too tired to go out on Saturday, or that I had compelling other plans, but neither would be true. I just forgot. Not even a nagging feeling at 8:00 that evening – isn’t there something I should be doing now? something I promised to see? – to tickle me. It wasn’t until about noon on Sunday that I remembered I’d promised to see this play. And I feel worse since I know that Ray and company labored particularly hard to get this show off the ground. So, Ray: I’m sorry I forgot. I hope the show, for all its troubles, went well.

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