EARLY — In the Early High School student center Thursday afternoon, theatre teacher Amber Jones laughed repeatedly at the comedy of errors that unfolded in front of her.
“Comedy of Errors,” a farcical comedy by William Shakespeare, is the name of the play Jones’ theatre students will perform in November.
The students are, of course, far from being ready to perform the play, which Jones hasn’t yet cast. Auditions began Thursday afternoon as groups of students entered the stage, scripts in hand, and read the unfamiliar Shakespearean dialogue.
Since the play is a comedy, Jones told the students to let their movements and expressions convey the action. They succeeded, and Jones laughed repeatedly and cheered repeatedly.
The play is about two twins who have servants — who are also twins, Jones said. The twins get separated at birth, one master and a servant and another master and a servant.
“They meet as grownups, and their families think they’re the other one,” Jones said.
After a year of doing dramas, the theatre group is doing comedies this year, Jones said. The students will hone their comedic skills in “Comedy of Errors” as they prepare to perform another comedy, “Epic Proportions,” in one act play competition.
“We have funny kids,” Jones said. “Last year we did all sort of serious dramas. This year I wanted to kind of lighten up the mood a little bit but really just hone in on where their talents lie.”
Comedy is hard, and some say it’s actually harder than drama, Jones said.
“But these guys, it just comes natural for them,” Jones said. “Luckily I have students that are passionate about Shakespeare, just like I am.
“The challenge for the actors is getting across to the audience what they’re saying through the movement and through the action. They’re not going to be familiar with Shakespeare language. But if it’s done right they’re going to know what’s going on.”
Jones said she has plenty of talent from which to choose cast members. “These kids are just really funny,” Jones said. “They don’t realize how funny this is going to be yet because they don’t know what they’re saying.
“But they’re going to understand. They’re going to be able to communicate to the audience what they’re saying through their movement.”
Jones said her theatre students are “pumped” this year.
“We worked really hard last year but I feel like our stress sort of hung over us like a dark cloud, and we forgot to have fun,” Jones said.
“So this year I really wanted us to laugh more. Hopefully the comedy will keep us laughing and pumped. It’s going to be good. I’m really excited.”