b'Directors Notes>>KIRSTEN BRANDTWelcome to our gender-switched production of The Comedy of Errors. This zany physical comedy of mistaken identity digs deep into our primal need for human connection. Through the hilarity of errors, the play compels us to consider ideas of family, marriage, gender, and identity.In the opening scene, we learn of the unjust divorce of Egeon and Emilia who were separated by a storm at sea, each with one of their twin daughters. Now, thirty years later, the need for connection and identity is a tempest raging in Egeons daughter, Antiphola of Syracuse, who in seeking out her long lost twin, hopes to discover herself. A storm also brews in the marriage of Antiphola of Ephesus and her husband Adriano as they find themselves at a crossroads in their union. Fear of separation and isolation stirs up deep emotions within each of the characters.The more I dig into this comedy, I see how these people are looking for identity through connection with family and community. What better decade to place our play than that of the identity-searching 1980s. The decade started with 9 to 5 and ended with Working Girl, exploiting misogyny in the workplace and empowering women. But it was also an era marked by Reaganomics and a backlash against feminism. It was the decade of MTV, Aqua Net, neon, and shoulder pads. Madonna was Like a Virgin and Cyndi Lauper encouraged She Bop. Prince, Duran Duran, Whitney Houston, and Culture Club dominated the charts. Dynasty, Cheers and Miami Vice were on television. In the movie theaters, female action heroes Ripley and Sarah Connor ruled alongside John Hughes teen angst films and Steven Spielberg blockbusters. It was a time of self-expression and exploration. And yeah, it was like, totally radical.Dramaturgs Notes>>ASHLEY HERUMThe first recorded performance of The Comedy of Errors took place on December 28, 1594, before the law students of Grays Inn during their Christmas festivities. The exact date of its composition is uncertain; current scholarship favors 159394, placing the play after Shakespeares earliest comedies, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Taming of the Shrew. Until recent decades, The Comedy of Errors generally was dismissed as a simple farce. Yet, beneath its rollicking, tightly-paced surface, The Comedy of Errors is a play of substance that explores individual identity in the contexts of marriage and family.Shakespeares chief source for The Comedy of Errors was the Roman playwright Plautus Menaechmi, a comedy about identical twin brothers, each of whom is mistaken for the other. Shakespeare departed in significant ways from his Plautine model, adding a pair of twins, changing the plays setting to Ephesus, and introducing a serious exploration of the responsibilities of marriage. His addition of the identical twin Dromios (Dromias in SCSs production) as slaves to the main characters, the two Antipholuses (Antipholas in SCSs production), increases the opportunities for mistaken identity.Shakespeares setting, Ephesus, would have been familiar to its first audiences from its portrayal in the New Testament Acts of the Apostles, in which Ephesus inhabitants are characterized as pagans preoccupied with the trading of luxury goods and the working of magic. The New Testament also forms the basis for Shakespeares exploration of marriage. In his Letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul pronounces that marriage is a state in which husband and wife are to become one flesh (Eph. 5:31). Although about marriage, Pauls pronouncement has relevance, by analogy, to various characters in their searches for completion through (re)unification with sibling, children, or spouse, and their simultaneous anxiety over the loss of a distinct self.The Antipholas experience acute threats to their individual senses of self. The wandering, empty Antiphola of Syracuse experiences being recognized as part of a community and falling in love, and is discomfited by this, while the confident merchant Antiphola of Ephesus experiences a denial of social identity, selfhood, and marital status. Ultimately, the play shows not just spouses, but two generations of a family coming together, if not as one flesh, then nevertheless in a miraculous reunion worthy of Ephesus as a place renowned for magic.28 SANTA CRUZ SHAKESPEARE 2019'