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“Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?

Sleeping or walking? Mad or well-advis’d?

Known unto these, and to myself disguis’d!

I’ll say as they say, and persever so,

And in this mist at all adventures go.”

(The Comedy of Errors, Act Two, Antipholus of Syracuse)

The Comedy of Errors is one of the earliest, if not the first work by Shakespeare. It is the story of two sets of twin brothers who, while traveling together, each became separated from their twin during a storm at sea. They all end up in Ephesus 23 years later, but do not become reacquainted until after a series of humorous incidences occur because of their own and the townspeople’s confusion over all of their identities.

The underlying theme of the play is the principal characters’ search for identity and love. They come to know themselves and the true nature of love and marriage when they have learned to distinguish appearance from reality.

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This past weekend, the play  was presented by The Midsummer Theater Troupe at the Seventh Annual Shakespeare in the Park at Island Park in Geneva, Illinois. The play was presented in a Ravinia-style setting, which for Chicago area patrons means picnic. The audience spreads across the park seated in lawn chairs and on blankets and enjoys a picnic meal or beverage, as desired.

The weather was lovely and the performance well-done. I really enjoyed the opportunity to see a Shakespeare play, and so close to home. Sponsored by the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission and the generosity of several local businesses, donations were requested but not required to attend.

Check your local paper for such events near you.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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