Brandeis Theater Company offers musical take on Shakespeare

Director Bill Barclay writes original music for 'The Comedy of Errors'

Photo/Heratch Ekmekjian

The Brandeis Theater Company’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” has two features most incarnations don’t: two sets of real-life twins and an original Balinese-style score.

The play is a farcical folly of mistaken identity involving two sets of identical twins separated at birth. When all four fellows converge in the same city, mayhem and marital mishaps erupt. The multi-talented Bill Barclay, who is directing the play, says sound is his way in. An actor and resident music director at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., Barclay has also been a Fox Foundation Fellow, which took him to England, France and Bali last year to train in theatrical and religious rituals, Balinese dance and shadow puppetry. Drawing on these experiences, Barclay has written original music for the play.

“Sound is always my entry point into creating those places,” Barclay says. “I fell in love with the island and have been looking for an opportunity to use those skills in a production.”

The music, instruments and scenery will add one unusual element, but in a rare, if not unheard of twist, the cast adds a second. Two sets of Brandeis twins – Aidan and Dotan Horowitz and Zak and Jared Greenberg – are playing twins’ roles as well.

“Shakespeare has delineated four very different people, with different tastes, styles, manners of communicating and even rhythms and moods,” Barclay writes on his blog. “And what is the reality on the real-life end of things? Well it turns out that for all their similarities, twins are in fact extremely different as well. “We usually have to focus on making the twins identical to each other,” Barclay says. “This gives us a chance to explore the difference between the twins. It’s always the most far-fetched of the comedies. Suddenly, there’s a piece of realism.”

Barclay says these differences make the production a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We’re going to do it right, and it’s going to be loony and chaotic like Shakespeare probably intended it.”

Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., as well as Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at noon in the Laurie Theater. Tickets ​are $20; $15 for Brandeis community and seniors; $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (781) 736-3400.

Categories: Arts

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