Room for Errors

José Mercado reworks a classic Shakespearean tale.

Twin brothers from different classes, one set enslaved to the other, are shipwrecked and separated. A chance reunion years later is the catalyst for a comedic romp in which mistaken identity leads to all sorts of hijinks — including a brush with incestuous seduction — where much of the humor relies on slapstick and bawdy, below-the-belt laughs. These events set in motion the narrative thrust of Shakespeare's shortest play, The Comedy of Errors, a work with writing so crisp and jokes so densely layered with class commentary that tweaking the actual words is unnecessary to preserve the humor, even 400 years later.

That said, José Mercado, assistant professor and director of the University of Colorado Denver's department of theater, film and video, has updated the production's tone and aesthetics for a new audience. Taking cues from acclaimed director Tim Burton (who's really more of an art director than anything else), Mercado and his student cast and crew have turned Comedy into a darker, more haunting comedy.

Mercado's powers of transformation speak for themselves; he helped turn North High School's Black Masque Theatre Company into a theatrical force to be reckoned with both here and abroad, taking the group to the acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 2006. Helmed by a steward with such credentials, The Comedy of Errors is sure to hit the comedy just right, with very little in the way of error. The play runs tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Eugenia Rawls Theatre, inside the King Center on the Auraria campus. Tickets are $5 to $12; visit www.ahec.edu/kingcenter to purchase yours. For information, call 303-556-2279.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 28. Continues through March 8, 2008

 
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