Arts : A Comedy In Errors

It’s late July and the snoutnose butterflies are swarming, so it must be the perfect time to see some outdoor theater, right? That, at least, is the thinking over at San Pedro Playhouse as they commence the first annual Shakespeare in San Pedro Springs Park with a production of The Comedy of Errors

Error #1: It’s late July in San Antonio. This is no time and place for theater al fresco. This kind of disregard for geography and climate usually emanates from the public sector: elected officials, high-school band directors, the Secretary of Defense. You might expect more sense from people who have lived through at least one South-Texas summer. But, as luck would have it, the Bard of Avon’s mighty wind came to San Antonio in the form of a slight breeze that made sitting outside relatively tolerable.

Error #2: Tolerable, that is, until the bugs showed up. While the mosquitoes apparently took the night off when I saw the show (don’t count on them staying away), in their place came a flight of bees and a claque of flies. Be sure to take some insect repellant with you.

Error #3: Microphones don’t always work well outside. This was especially egregious during the sluggish exposition at the top of the play. With so much of the dialogue lost in the static coming out of the speakers, the producers could have dispensed with the mics and relied on pure vocal projection.  

Error #4: Yes, the set is a playground and this is a comedy, but not every actor has to ham it up. This production did a great job of putting some play back into the play. The Dromio twins, played by Damian Gillen and

7pm Friday-Sunday
Through August 13
Free, donations accepted
San Pedro Park Playground
1315 San Pedro

John Poole, were especially hilarious, and the Antipholoi twins, played by Eric Lozano and Roy Eric Gonzalez, were suitably manic, but the overall pace of the comedy had little room to build as every last bit was milked haphazardly with no sense of rising action. A hilarious scene with a pseudo-exorcist (performed by director Kevin Murray) was almost lost in the constant clowning that never let up but never really got more intense, either.  

Error #5: This is really picky, but there’s a bit of wordplay in the last act that requires certain staging in order to be even mildly humorous. Specifically, it has to do with a series of jokes about being “bound” which make absolutely no sense when the butt of the joke is in no way bound. I might have let this one go if it hadn’t been directed with such obvious gestures indicating the joke, a joke that only needed a foot of rope or a pair of handcuffs to elicit at least one chuckle. San Pedro Playhouse is planning on doing Hamlet in the park next year. Let’s hope they remember to cut out the line in the first scene about it being “bitter cold.”

Error #6: Don’t sit too close to the action. The same breeze which made the temperature tolerable also moved a cloud of dust from the playground into the faces of the audience.  

Error #7: Never underestimate the power of Shakespeare to entertain. Gloria Sanchez and Veronica Antillon gave delightfully poised (and static-free) performances as Adriana and Luciana, and Gregory Hinojosa’s goldsmith Angelo has a way of saying the word “chain” that is inexplicably funny. This Comedy of Errors is at least as entertaining as a Missions game (Henry the Puffy Taco … Shakespeare — sometimes it’s a tough call) and it’s free. So, grab a chair and some bottles of water and if you’re lucky you can get a paleta when the ice-cream cart comes through the park.  


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