EARLY — Shakespeare is in the air.
That’s the assessment of Early High School theatre teacher Amber Jones, who is directing her students in the Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” which opens later this month.
Jones noted that Brownwood High School’s theatre department recently performed another Shakespearean comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and a school in a nearby county is considering doing Shakespeare for one-act play competition.
“I’m just very passionate about Shakespeare,” said Jones, who also teaches English at the high school. “I felt my freshmen cannot go all the way through and not experience Shakespeare. This one really fits the kids that I have. I have hilarious, talented, funny kids. They’re just really quick to pick up and memorize the language.”
Jones previously taught theatre in San Angelo, Killeen and Georgetown before coming to Early in 2017.
Performance times in the Early High School Student Activity Center are:
• 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14
• 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16
• 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18
There is no admission charge but donations are appreciated.
In a section on the program called “Director’s Notes,” Jones wrote that “The Comedy of Errors” is one of Shakespeare’s most farcical plays and brilliantly contains puns and plays on words. The play perfectly fits the talent of her students, who are “funny, intelligent, witty and hungry to learn,” Jones wrote.
“That in itself is a magical recipe for a successful show. Their work ethic, drive, willingness to make sacrifices and excitement have made my job a joy.”
Jones explained the premise.
“A man and woman meet before the show opens and they have two twin sons,” Jones said. “They name them both Antipholus for some reason. Meanwhile, a poor woman has a set of twins also, played by the Bynums — the Dromios, who also have the same name.”
Jones was referring to real-life Bynum twins Megan and Rae, who are Early High School seniors.
“So the mom and the dad adopt the Dromios because the mom can’t take care of them, as servants for their twin boys,” Jones said. “So the Antipholuses are two twins, and their two servants are these two twins, the Dromios. They’re on a ship and a storm comes. They hit a rock and the ship splits in two. The dad of each twin goes to Syracuse and the other parent and the other twin gets blown to Ephesus. So they’re separated.
“About 20 years go by, and Antipholus of Syracuse decides to go look for his mother. So they all end up in Ephesus and they get mixed up, and everybody thinks they’re the other one and they don’t know that each other are there.”
The Bynum twins play Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse. “Megan’s always been the actor, and Rae’s always been the tekkie, and that’s just how they thought it was,” Jones said. “But Rae’s discovered she’s an actor also so this is her first big role on stage, and she is a natural. They’re both just naturals.”
In her “Director’s Notes” section, Jones wrote that she believes students “should not just be exposed to information, some notes, take a test, get a good grade and graduate, but should be hooked into the place of a passionate, tenacious and intense craving to learn continuous throughout life.”
“We should want more for our students than to merely shine a light on the doc, when we an help open the door to the pathway of higher education.”
Jones said Shakespeare “does just that. Not only are his works at the very root of English literature, but they appeal to people of all ages and walks of life.”
Shakespeare and other classic literature are “at the very core of what we love to discuss,” Jones wrote. Topics include love and unrequited love, power and corruption, murder and conspiracy, war, the supernatural and wit and humor, Jones wrote.
“Shakespeare goes straight for the heart of humanity,” Jones wrote.