Not About Nightingales's James Black can go back to being just one character at a time. The Alley Theatre resident company member's stint as Antipholus and Antipholus in William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors ends March 5 on the Houston venue's Neuhaus Arena Stage. Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd directs the comedy, which opened Feb. 9.
One of Shakespeare's first plays, The Comedy Of Errors is a true farce, where the mistaken identities of a man and his servant (and their twin brothers) cause comic chaos as the wrong men are proposed to, payment of debts are demanded from those who didn't borrow, and complete strangers come forward in bonds of friendship. In a new interpretation of the play, which may have been, in itself, an adaption of Plautus' The Menachmi, Boyd's production borrows from classic 1940's Warner Brothers films including "Casablanca" and "Algiers."
Black made his Broadway debut as Butch O'Fallon, the prison leader in Not About Nightingales. In his 11th season with the Alley, he has portrayed a wide variety of characters, from Roy Cohn in Angels in America, Buzz Hauser in Love! Valour! Compassion!, the title role in Macbeth, Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot in Black Coffee and multiple roles in Mere Mortals.
As Black's servant Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse will be John Tyson. Also in the company are John Feltch (Pinch), Bettye Fitzpatrick (Emilia), Elizabeth Heflin (Luciana), Annalee Jeffries (Adriana), Charles Krohn (Egeon), Kevin Waldron (Balthazar), James Belcher (Solinus), Luis Galindo (Merchants), Amanda Ronconi (Courtesan) and Jamison Stern (Angelo).
Designing Comedy of Errors are Kevin Rigdon (sets, lighting), Fabio Toblini (costumes) and Malcolm Nicholls (sound). Tickets are $42-$37 and are available by calling the Alley box office at (713) 228-9341 ext. 350. The Alley Theatre is on the web at http://www.alleytheatre.com.
-- By Christine Ehren