Prepare for Comedy of Errors

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in Shakespeare Education, Shakespeare for Kids by Kids, Shakespeare Resources | 0 comments

UNDERSTANDING COMEDY OF ERRORS

| by Andee Kinzy |

Here at ImprovEd Shakespeare, we firmly believe you should get to know the story before jumping into a Shakespeare play. In honor of our spring production, we want to share some resources with you.

YouTube:

If you like YouTube, we have a playlist on our channel:
Studies: Comedy of Errors

For a short written summary:

  • Royal Shakespeare Company Synopsis of Comedy of Errors
    *Note: They have additional interesting explorations into the play in the menu on the left.
  • Shmoop** – Comedy of Errors
    **Note: Okay, this site depends on the family. Shmoop is very tongue-in-cheek. There are lots of subjective comments inserted into the summary and a few “more mature” annotations (like “PITA” and “WTF?”). However, it’s entertaining for a quick overview of the story. And, yes, Shakespeare academics barf at this.
  • Play Shakespeare website – Comedy of Errors
    *Play Shakespeare also has an app with the text of the plays. You can select words and get a definition as you read the text.
  • Absolute Shakespeare website – Comedy of Errors
  • Shakespeare Stories II by Leon Garfield
    Out-of-print, but you can find it used on Amazon or at your local library.
  • Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb – Comedy of Errors
    *Note: An old-fashioned summary. This is a longer synopsis with antiquated phrasing. Some kids enjoy it. Others don’t.
  • Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare by E. Nesbit – Comedy of Errors
    *Note: Also old-fashioned. By E. Nesbit of “Five Children and It” fame.

For alternative versions:

Film versions:

Entire play:

  • MIT has all of Shakespeare’s works available for free online – Comedy of Errors
  • Or visit your local library! As to the editions/publishers? It’s up to you, but:
    • Comedy of Errors (No Fear Shakespeare)
      *Note: No Fear Shakespeare has a useful modern translation next to the original text. (Although, many Shakespeare academics barf at the modern paraphrasing. Grin.) Some people hate it, because they feel the paraphrasing is inadequate; but we think it’s highly readable if you want to quickly get the gist of the story.
    • Comedy of Errors (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series)
      Many actors like the footnotes in the Arden editions.
    • Comedy of Errors (Folger Library Shakespeare)
      Quite a few readers like the layout of the annotation in the Folger editions. Many high schools use this edition.
    • The Comedy of Errors in Plain and Simple English
      Translator: BookCaps

Film versions:

  • Comedy of Errors: Flying Karamazov Bros.
    On our YouTube Playlist: Studies: Comedy of Errors
  • The Comedy of Errors: Royal Shakespeare Co. (RSC)
    For those who wish we could travel to London for some Shakespeare plays, Digital Theatre makes films of British stage productions. This one promises to be delightful for the kids.
  • The Comedy of Errors: GLOBE on-screen
    DVD on Amazon

A short note about “modern translations.” Serious Shakespeare academics and scholars feel that starting kids off with these versions is abhorrent, subjective paraphrasing. At ImprovEd Shakespeare, we appreciate the modern translations. We view them as a jumping off point. Sometimes you come across a phrase that just doesn’t make sense. Without being immersed in Shakespeare’s language, it can be hard to understand. A modern translation helps a-plenty. It helps you to appreciate the beauty of Shakespeare’s words.

In any case, there’s no one right way to approach Shakespeare. The trick is to find what works for you.

We hope these resources are helpful to get you started on your journey with this play!

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