Fall play cast performs Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors”

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Anika Rajamani

Ellie Lang-Ree (11), portraying the role of Dromio of Ephesus, stamps her foot in frustration as Jessica Skinner (12), portraying the role of Adriana, regards her with a look of concern. The cast of the fall play performed three shows of Shakespeare's "A Comedy of Errors" on Oct. 26, 27 and 28.

by Prameela Kottapalli and Anika Rajamani

A masterful combination of subtle wordplay and flamboyant slapstick-comedy, a cast that delivers 16th-century dialogue with a southern drawl and the colorful setting of an eccentric Texas townbring all these elements together, and you have the upper school performing arts department’s production of Shakespeare’s farcical masterpiece “A Comedy of Errors.”

“It’s about misunderstandings that lead to crazy, funny results,” director Jeffrey Draper, who chose the play in part for its comedic elements, said. “It’s just silly. It’s a perfect formula comedy, and it’s brilliant.”

Members of the Conservatory program delivered three successive performances of the fall play on Oct. 26, 27 and 28.

The production, which prompted laughing fits from the audience several times during each nightly performance, revolves around humorous situations and various cases of mistaken identity.

“The comedy gives the play the room to be over-the-top and utilizes slapstick humor[such as] the pies,” audience member and Conservatory program participant Praveen Batra (12) said. “This play definitely has the most thematic elements out of any fall play I’ve seen before. The strong Southern accents and all the costumes really grounded it in place very strongly.”

A unique aspect of this year’s fall play compared to the previous years’ is its incorporation of music for dramatic and comedic effect throughout each half of the performance. In addition, cast members led a sing-along to engage the audience before first curtain and during intermission, and the soundtrack consisted of no pre-recorded sound effects.

“The students and what they’re doing is always primary, but this unique show is benefiting from a sing-along at intermission and from incidental music played throughout,” Draper said. “Last year, there were 70, 100 sound effects and recorded sound cues. There are none in this show, and they’re all done live.”

While some cast members delivered onstage sound cues, upper school vocal music teacher Susan Nace performed all other effects along with incidental piano music.

“The enthusiasm is overwhelming, and the way that everybody supports each other is very heartwarming,” Nace said. “It’s been very, very positive, and as a result, this show sparklesit can be all that it can be.”

Proceeds from all concessions sold during the fall play will contribute to relief efforts to aid those affected by the Northern California wildfires and eastern seaboard hurricanes.

“I want to model for the students how we need to reach out and support people in need all over the world,” Draper said. “We, in Silicon Valley, have the potential to be very influential and helpful to people who are in desperate need.”

Student council also collaborated with the fall play to host a fundraiser this past week, selling boba tea and Dippin’ Dots during lunch. All funds collected will go towards Habitat for Humanity’s disaster response program.