Shakespeare BASH’d returns for its fifth and final performance at the Toronto Fringe Festival with The Comedy of Errors, opening tonight at 7 p.m.
The Theatre Reader had the opportunity to speak with Director and BASH’d Co-founder Julia Nish-Lapidus, who will also be playing Aemelia in this rollicking tale about false identity, shipwrecks and pure madness.
With The Comedy of Errors being “a fast moving farce,” Nish-Lapidus says that it just seemed like the right fit for what BASH’d does at Fringe, and the perfect show for their swan song at the festival.
To reflect the company’s mandate of staying true to the text in raucous fashion, this production will be “fast-paced and barebones,” in fact, probably the most barebones production to date according to Nish-Lapidus, who says there will be almost no set, costumes, or props.
She explains that toning down the aesthetics allowed the team to focus on the humorous script and the tale it has to tell.
“We worked to really highlight the farcical nature of the show, and the idea of being lost and found. The show has people constantly looking for each other, whether it’s a long lost twin, or a husband who hasn’t come home for dinner. Everyone is looking for someone, and often ends up finding the wrong person.”
One distinct feature of the piece is the company's decision to cast one actor per set of twins.
“The decision to do it this way, first off, just seemed like a lot of fun,” says Nish-Lapidus, adding that, “It’s a great opportunity for two actors to get to play such fun parts and take on this exciting challenge of making each twin a whole and distinct character.”
She says that the team also really wanted to emphasize the confusion in the play, which comes from the fact that no one can tell the difference between two completely identical characters.
The result was organic and magical, she says. In fact, Nish-Lapidus reveals that some of her favorite moments from rehearsal were the twins interacting with one another.
“Without even thinking about it, the actors just followed their instincts and found (a simple, logical and fun) way to tell the story. It was so great, and what you see in the show is just an evolution of what their first instincts were.”
Nish-Lapidus also reveals that the cast is comprised entirely of BASH’d regulars, who know how the company works and how to embrace their Fringe space, the Victory Café.
“It also makes for an amazing rehearsal room. This is a family. Everyone knows and loves one another, so it’s created a really safe space to try things, which is so important in rehearsal.”
Once they wrap up at Fringe, BASH’d promises more exciting productions coming up soon. In November, they will present a staged reading of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s The Changeling. Afterwards, they will stage a full production of Twelfth Night at the Monarch Tavern, directed by other BASH’d co-founder and Nish-Lapidus’ husband, James Wallis.
Don’t miss their Fringe finale, and be sure to stay tuned for their upcoming projects.
The Comedy of Errors runs until July 10 at the Victory Café. For more information, visit http://fringetoronto.com/fringe-festival/shows/the-comedy-of-errors/.