The Comedy of Errors
Not one but two sets of twins separated shortly after birth, a missing mother and wandering father, threats of death and threats of love, as well as madcap craziness in a small town. Trying to find his twin brother, Antipholus moans, “I, to the world, am like a drop of water that in the ocean seeks another drop."
For those of you who provide parts a scene at a time, this Character Chart shows all the characters' lines in each scene:: The Comedy of Errors
If your group reads the plays straight through in one sitting and you want to divide up the parts, we have a number of “cast” lists already divided up for you. These are text files that you edit to suit your group. We always recommend in a straight-through read that each participant take a moment beforehand to mark their parts—then everything proceeds so smoothly.
The main source story for Shakespeare’s play is an ancient Latin story by Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BC), The Brothers Menaechmus, also called Menaechmi. You can read the play here. An excellent task is a discussion of how Shakespeare changed this original story into The Comedy of Errors.
Check out this clip from a Royal Shakespeare Company performance in 1976 with Judi Dench as Adriana and a bit of music and dancing thrown in.
Our favorite film version of this play is the BBC Shakespeare Collection with Roger Daltrey and Michael Kitchen because it catches the poignant and difficult moments and avoids diminishing the play to a silly farce.
This is the 1623 First Folio text sponsored by the University of Victoria.
Back to the Readers' Editions and readers' support page.
Our ISC Readers' Edition:
This is an audio recording of the play by professional actors with sound effects:
Try to find the film version with Michael Kitchen, Roger Daltrey, and Susan Bertish from the BBC.