On Friday 27th and Saturday 28th April, 102 children in the 3s, 4s and 5s aged 8-11, plus backstage crew, performed a lively ensemble production of William Shakespeare’s ‘A Comedy of Errors.’ Staged in-the-round and using four corner entrance and exit points, the children visualised the figurative and literal back of forth of the characters, their confusion and chaos.
This young cast created physical theatre shapes, used a sheet as a flexible prop to represent such key moments as Adriana’s locked door, the shipwreck and the winding roads of Ephesus, and switched between original text when speaking dialogue and additional narration. Every single cast member spoke lines making this a true ensemble piece. With all the role-sharing between the Antipholus and Dromio brothers, this somewhat confusing narrative became even more complicated, but the children opened by introducing each character and their identifying features and also gleefully leapt into the audience at a whistle signal in order to keep the audience up to speed before bustling back to their seats.
The children also performed as a speaking clock, clapping and calling out each passing hour to show Egeon moving ever closer to his time of execution. I was so proud of all the children and how they delivered their lines with clarity and conviction. I sincerely hope this first experience of Shakespeare’s rich language, wonderful imagery, and comedy will be remembered fondly by all the children.